Glass Pavilion at the Botanical Garden

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Project description

Multipurpose space for horticultural events and corporate functions

Status of project / expected completion (if applicable)
Design competition entry, Finalist

Lead Design Architect
Gilles Saucier

Design Team
Gilles Saucier, André Perrotte, Dominique Dumais, Maxime Leclerc, Julien Nolin, Marie-Eve Primeau, Olivier Blouin

Exhibition Design
Studio Adeline Rispal

Landscape Architect
Michel Desvigne Paysagiste

Yann Kersalé

Structural Engineer
Guy Nordenson and Associates / Pasquin St-Jean

Mechanical/Electrical Engineer
Pageau Morel and Associates


LEED expert
Lyse Tremblay / ecoArchitecture

Photo credit
Saucier + Perrotte Architectes / Luxigon / Michel Desvigne Paysagiste


The traditional boundaries between architecture, landscape, scenography and lighting are blurred as the visitor experiences an immersive universe which resembles the exploratory trip of the naturalist.


Completing the greenhouses and the Centre for Biodiversity, the Glass Pavilion establishes the connection between the indoor and outdoor while announcing the Rose Garden. The pavilion is conceived with the motivation to create a continuous space between the interior and exterior promenade. Its circular shape is intuitive; relating to the existing site conditions and paths and appears eroded by the surrounding nature. Its composition recalls the trunk of a tree, whose structure distributes energy vertically through each of its elements. This same upward energy is present in the Glass Pavilion.


Pursuing this idea of blurring the boundary between inside and outside, the concept of the pavilion borrows from the gardens one of its strongest elements:  the path. The project is conceived as a natural extension, a three-dimensional path connected to the existing gardens. The resultant experience is analogous to a walk through a luminous forest, culminating at a suspended water garden that provides a mirror to the sky. During the ascent, colored glass filters the light while vertical elements create a reference to the forest. In summer the building is naturally ventilated, as outside air enters to accompany the inner loop. This new evolutionary garden becomes a high vantage point, a window on the near and distant panoramas; the Rose Garden as well as the Quebec landscape. Ultimately it is a microcosm of the local landscape itself and a representation of the world that can be admired from above in this new intimate space.

To the east, the volume is polished to allow the deployment of the roots and branches of three magnificent oaks. This mirror-like surface creates a virtual forest through which we access the trail to begin our ascent.


The multipurpose room is the negative space created by the presence of this new peripheral trail. The promenade is simply lifted to allow continuity between the Rose Garden and the courtyard of the Centre for Biodiversity at ground level. The building is never an obstacle as it calls for fluidity, transparency and lightness.

This versatile space becomes the receptacle, a clear chamber receiving the changing image of the different natural elements. The water reflections on the roof, whose presence varies with the seasons and climate, are transposed into the room by the use of large squares of light. In winter, the water gives way to snow and ice, changing the interior atmosphere.


The experience of the suspended aquatic sky is unique and always renewed by the variability of the time, temperature, light, wind on snow, and light on ice. Between rooted land and suspended water, the visitor will experience a weightlessness; a memory of the human connection to water.


The fifth facade - the accessible roof - presents a unique situation: that of a more intimate landscape opening up views to the Rose Garden and onto the vast Montreal sky. This microcosm focuses on the characteristics of the Quebec landscape while providing a surface to accommodate the programmatic elements of the Glass Pavilion.

Arriving on the roof, visitors discover a mirror of water reflecting the sky. This new garden presents an evolving exhibition of aquatic plants curated according to the flowering periods of the various species.

Other Projects by Saucier + Perrotte architectes

Boutique Philippe Dubuc
Gérald-Godin College
CCT - University of Toronto
Les bains Scandinave - Vieux-Montreal
Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics
Michel Brisson Boutique