Canadian multidisciplinary design firm Lemay recently revitalized a core area on the site of Expo 67, the 1967 International and Universal Exposition that was held in Montreal and is considered the most successful World’s Fair of the 20th century. The $60 million project, which concluded earlier this summer, was carried out as part of the City of Montreal’s 375th anniversary in 2017. Spanning an area of approximately 35 acres, the redevelopment project known as the new Espace 67 enhances the visitor experience with the addition of new wayfinding elements, a multipurpose amphitheater, an Event Village, a Natural Agora and a variety of service pavilions.
Held for six months in Montreal in 1967, the Expo 67 hosted a record-breaking number of World’s Fair visitors and attracted 62 nation participants. After its end, the site preserved a collection of international pavilions known as “Man and His World” located on two islands: Saint Helen’s Island and the human-made Notre Dame Island on the St. Lawrence River. Using an integrated design approach, Lemay has enhanced the pedestrian experience that begins from the metro with new service pavilions and leads to the site that connects the islands’ north and south shores.
“Lemay’s concept blends the enchanting natural setting and rich historic past of this exceptional site, to offer a truly versatile space,” said Andrew King, partner and design principal at Lemay. “It has been reborn as a destination unto itself, now able to fully accommodate a wide range of major events.”
The architectural geometry of Expo 67 is repeated in the new design. For example, the geometric patterns found in Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic dome, also known as the Biosphere, have been reproduced in the pavilion roofs, wall perforations and outdoor paving. Materials, lighting and massing were specially selected to help guide visitors through the site and are optimized for crowd management.
Photography by Marc Cramer via Lemay