This project involved the complete redesign and redevelopment of Montreal’s Paul-Bruchési Elementary School yard. Originally entitled “Blue Yard”, the project is located in the trendy Plateau-Mont-Royal neighbourhood, but was built with very a limited budget. For economic reasons, the school decided to keep the existing asphalt paving and build a new project on top. NIPpaysage decided to work within this requirement by exploring large patches of painted colors and softer surfaces to give the site a well-deserved landscape makeover. The result was achieved by implementing a strong coloured scheme to organise and structure different uses and programmed activities. Using circulation patterns and building volumes, a grid of white lines was established, defining and organizing play and other leisure spaces.
The white lines become the site’s mains structure and overall matrix, defining a backdrop at the scale of the entire schoolyard. The oblique outlines of this “white frame” are determined by the architectural elements of the school’s heritage building, such as the entrances or general built volume. Within the white grid, bright blue areas provide various programs and play opportunities. This net of white lines and blue surfaces becomes the texture of play for the entire project, giving renewed identity to the generic and everyday bituminous material seen all around town in local schoolyards.
Furthermore, the blue asphalt surface comes alive by the introduction of vegetation (native trees, shrubs, perennial groundcovers, etc.) and the addition of an odd-shaped sculptural earthwork covered with diversely coloured recycled rubber surfaces. Acting as islands, this series of planting beds, rubber landforms, paved meeting points and a few wooden seating and performance terraces punctuate the yard’s otherwise flat surface, allowing a wide range of improvised and unexpected discoveries while moving around the space. This project was built within a neighborhood-scale pilot project to reduce the heat island effects in the downtown area.