Next City, a publication focused on inspiring better cities, has published a piece focused on the Centre Hospitalier de l’Universite de Montreal (CHUM) and its extensive public art features. In Quebec, 1% of a project’s total construction cost must be spent on public art, which equates to more than $2 million CAD for CHUM and 13 large scale artworks throughout CHUM’s interior and exterior public spaces.
The article does a strong job of telling the history and purpose of CHUM and then detailing some of the unique art pieces that will help define the healthcare setting. Hopefully, you have a few moments to read the article in full.
Here are some of the key art features of CHUM:
- The Passerelle: The City of Montreal has a long history of saying no to elevated bridges connecting multiple buildings over the public way. In order not to set a precedent on the CHUM, the city required the bridge – the Passerelle – meet a number of stringent conditions, including being an exceptional object of art itself. The bridge is designed as a « lantern » above the street, clad in a perforated copper mesh that welcomes filtered light during the day and exudes patterned light at night.
- The largest piece of art spans eight stories of the facade of the ambulatory care center titled La vie en montagne, the piece consists of five mountain peaks printed on the inside face of the exterior glass. The mountain summits are symbolic of an electrocardiogram, while also referencing the rises and falls generated by illness and recovery. Up close and when viewed through the glass of the inside of the building, each mountain is made of a mosaic of inspiring words meant to connect with patients on an intimate level.
- Most of the public art is located on the ground floor, defining key public areas and entrances. La traverse des lucioles, is integrated within the entrance at Sanguinet Street. In this three-story space, five concerted forms stretch across the wall in unequal angles; perforations in the forms house thousands of bright fibers that mimic the glow of fireflies. Inside the entrance on St. Denis Street, aire de reflexion is shimmering work composed of steel cables and stainless steel discs suspended from the high ceiling. The piece was inspired by the night sky of Montreal during the winter solstice.