Québec Shape Shifting City

RÊVONS NOS RIVIÈRES - Ville de Québec, Canada


type       International Competition

client    Ville de Québec

area       100 ha

status   completed

site        Ville de Québec - Canada

year       2017



arch. Ricardo Moya, arch. Alessio Pea PhD, arch. paes. Federica Perissi, arch. Riccardo Porreca PhD, designer Gloria Quattrone, arch. Daniele Rocchio, arch. paes. Ricardo Sousa

International competition of ideas launched from Ville de Québec that contemplates to the planning of the principal rivers that cross the territory; Cap Rouge, Saint-Charles, Beauport and Montmorency. The objective of this contest is that to return an own identity to the rivers with an innovative and sustainable planning, in degree to transform but at the same time to preserve, the city of Québec.

After a comprehensive revision of the documents provided in this competition, contacting and interviewing residents of Quebec City and pursuing further research on specific historical, social and environmental aspects, it was determined that the main issues concerning the city are: lack of good water quality to swim and other recreational opportunities in the rivers, lack of accessibilities and difficult mobility within the city and urban sprawl with a predominance of new neighborhoods with large parcels on the edges of the city. To solve these issues, improve the quality of life of residents and the attractiveness of the city for visitors all year-round, the general objective is to transform how the city evolves and adapts according to seasons, time and future impacts from climate change.

To treat water the city will build floating wetlands on platforms that extend from the waterfront to reduce flow speed and filtrate suspended solids and other contaminants. These platforms have in between a rope net to sustain oyster growth, also to decontaminate water and create in time an artificial reef that will protect the city from storm surges and sea level rise. Low impact design strategies, such as bioswales, retention ponds, green roofs, etc., are implemented at watershed-scale and designed according to the place's novel ecosystem to reduce urban runoff and thus reduce non-point source contamination. In time, restoration of water quality and river habitats will add beauty to these spaces and attract more recreational activities. This will also allow for re-thinking the rivers' role in the city as multi-use, multi-benefit corridors. Rivers evolve and transform to become ecological and public mass-transportation connectors with a new vehicle that can navigate and ski. Floating pedestrian bridges will allow for more crossings, functional with different tides and flows. Besides improving connectivities and access to the rivers the idea is that this may be done every day of the year. The river corridors will be widened to create more room for the rivers to restore their more natural lateral processes. Wooden walls and elevated paths along with restored or artificial canals will manage sediment flow and control erosion rates. Mining areas and empty lots will also be connected to the rivers through canals to accommodate high tides to prevent floods. River corridors become large green areas, center for all sorts of different cultural and social experiences. Aging infrastructure, such as roads and highways, are converted into green corridors where public transportation and bike lanes prevail as the primary land mobility alternative in the city. City growth is another concern and therefore choosing specific areas to densify and prevent further sprawl is a priority. Increasing building height, green areas and public spaces should be a city's priority.

Quebec City has with this project the possibility of becoming an international reference in adaptive and resilient urban design that benefits the environment and the quality of life of its residents and visitors.

arch. Alessio Pea + arch. Federica Perissi

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