Gatineau Sports Center

Made for the Quebec Games of 2010, the landscape project for the sports center makes playful use of monumental topography, created from the excavated soil from construction, minimizing the export of materials. The site includes a public square, retention basins and green roofs, all meeting LEED-NC silver criteria.

The project demonstrates an approach combining cutting-edge environmental considerations with the elements of design. Ecology is the starting point and inspiration for the design strategy. In fact, the landscape project for the Centre sportif de Gatineau retains 50 of the land excavated on site to create a huge mound – an attractive landscape element in the context of the surrounding flat area. Drainage basins bordering the site and a public square continue the motif, the waves of rain winding their way to the retention basins.

The involvement of the landscape architects from the beginning of this process results in a design project where the relationship between architecture and landscape is remarkable. This commitment is expressed concretely by designing a building literally across the landscape. The pedestrian path runs diagonally across the site, linking it to strategic urban destinations.

The Centre sportif de Gatineau project is exemplary in terms of integration of the various professional disciplines involved:

Urban design:
Infrastructure and networks to link the city. The project forges urban links and enhances the public domain while providing a clear and smooth organization of the elements related to the landscape/architecture concept.

The volumetric concept of the sports centre clearly emphasizes two main components of the concept that are also extended to the landscape pools wetlands and gymnasiums/palestra dry zone. The simplicity of the formal expression of the project allows users a clear reading and experience.

Landscape Architecture:
The concept of the sites development, in harmony with the building, relates two landscapes, dry and wet, and continues the spirit of the great architectural gestures. In response to inspiration from the territory, the management strategy recommends reveals, manipulates and interprets certain peculiarities and challenges of the typical landscape of the region of the Outaouais Valley.

Public art:
To signify the beauty of the landscape framework, five sculptures – scalene triangles more or less erect – extend some high points of the landscape. The perspectives offered by the sleek and clean lines of the plaques, in equilibrium with their environment, crown the vision of the site while still participating in a subtle dialogue.

Sustainable development:
LEED Silver, the project develops mounds that reuse 50 of the land excavated from the site. Retention basins allow for flow of some of the water of the site and roof water. The use of green roofs in the central part of the building reduces heat islands and energy consumption by air conditioning.

Role of landscape architect:
The structure of a project initiated by a turn-key competition combining all types of professionals, implied the relevance of the role of landscape architect in the early stages of development. Beginning at the selection process there was a key role in providing a proposal that exceeded the status quo – by adding to public buildings an exterior space serving as a real green space.

Additionally, the role of the landscape architect was to convince the team and the client of the importance of quality outdoor spaces in order to obtain the required budget and to negotiate the amount of area dedicated to the landscape by reducing parking areas.

The role was also to integrate technical and ecological components by putting in place an expressive landscape.

Local impact:
In the context of a concrete commercial sector dedicated to the car, the project offers a green space dedicated to pedestrians consisting of a large hill in scale with its context.

Unique character:
The project pushes the limits of precision in terms of grading, allowing a remarkable element in the treatment of the landscape to be created.

The team structure of the turn-key project giving the lead role to the contractor and positioning the professionals as consultants to the contractor is a problem in terms of quality control. This situation calls for willingness to negotiate and flexibility of the project to allow for changes up until the construction phase.


Project Type


850 Boulevard de la Gappe, Gatineau, J8T 7T7 ,