With the Centre d'Art Diane Dufresne, ACDF Architecture has created a new arts centre for the suburban municipality of Repentigny
The Municipality of Repentigny and ACDF conceived of the centre as a part of a larger master plan, it being the first element to transform a once-sparse, underutilised park into a cultural corridor with thematic gardens, a civic plaza and a theatre. Part of the broader redevelopment scheme is to provide connections between previously disjointed, bungalow-lined streets.
The design team positioned the building at the nexus of new walking paths, linking a main boulevard with surrounding residential lanes, helping to draw people to the site. Aesthetically, the studio reinterpreted classical principles — a carefully proportioned colonnade in front of a calm reflecting pool, a monolithic materiality, and a solid, reassuring appearance — with contemporary sophistication. A number of the columns are deliberately askew to foster moments of encounter; the materiality is a glinting stainless steel; and the inner mass is sub-divided into three sinuous, Aalto-esque volumes, each of which conceals the centre's multipurpose room, dance recital space and main gallery area.
To contrast the metal's slickness, the three sinuous volumes in the interior are clad in locally-sourced wood, which gives a warmth to the project under an array of skylights. Importantly, Centre d'Art Diane Dufresne contributes to the community regardless of the time of day. At night, it acts as a lantern, activating the surrounding park, and making serene reflections in the pond.