As part of a renewal agreement for the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix, the city of Montreal had to replace the existing temporary track structures with a larger permanent building that would adequately meet the needs of the event and its organisers.
The new paddock includes garages for the teams, offices for the International Automobile Federation (FIA) and the promoter, a lounge area for 5 000 people, as well as a world-class multimedia centre for journalists and broadcasters.
Unlike other international Grand Prix, the lounge areas have no exterior walls and are not air-conditioned. The interior spaces are minimally finished as the building has to use the public funds invested responsible, while equipping Montreal with a facility reflective of the city’s identity and values, given that the event attracts more than 300 million people in global viewership.
The innovative structures that marked Quebec’s imagination when the 1967 World Fair was held on the site of Île Notre-Dame became the inspiration for the new building. The new roof’s wooden structure is geometrically based on this memory, reflecting the city’s desire to move away from the images and values traditionally associated with motor racing and more specifically with Formula 1, with a more fair-like and sociable feel.
The advent of new owners and executives at the head of the circuit gave rise to the inspirational design and ultimate acceptance of the architectural vision, which corresponds to the desire to move away from the ostentatious globalized luxury to highlight a more cultural and geographical representative vision for the circuit’s redesign.
Refined paddock facilities
The paddocks feature a new modular design, without any permanent divisions, and will accommodate up to 13 stables, each featuring two front-access areas for single-seaters, drivers and technical teams, with the service access located at the rear of the building.
The garage space can easily be set up to the specifications of each team, owing to temporary partitions that will be used to create the desired divisions and thus suit the technical needs of this constantly evolving sport.
With the constantly evolving race control technology, less direct visibility is needed. This is resulting in the race tower being arranged horizontally, across the building’s two floors, creating a new immersive spectator experience.
A media space, integrated into the building rather than a temporary marquee, offers journalists the best in modular lighting, a suitable ventilation system, electrical and telecommunications connections as well as optical fibre. Innovatively, this facility is now also available as an eventing space off season, making it much more functional.
The increase in height of the new building means 360-degree panoramas to the spectators on one side, with close-up views of various landmarks on the opposite side, including views of Jean-Doré Beach, the Casino de Montréal, former Pavilion of France and the former Pavilion of Quebec adjacent.
The wooden roof structure of 1 425m³ is a durable and renewable material, as this volume of wood corresponds to the sequestration of more than 1 000 tons of CO₂. It is creating a carbon-negative effect – as not only does the use of wood in the roof’s construction generate low-carbon emissions, but the materials also help to remove additional carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
The 64m² terrace is covered in solar photovoltaic panels which can store enough solar energy in a single year, equivalent to the total energy expenditure required to complete the entire building. The solar system will provide an average of 87 600kw/hre per year, which is more than the estimated energy consumption during the Formula 1 event, which is 88 940kw/hre.
The wood used for the beams and decking was all locally sourced from northern Quebec, where cutting practices are specifically designed to value species and to optimise the fibre of all the trees during the cutting process. In addition, by dividing the structure’s construction into different batches (concrete, steel and wood) they could enable the simultaneous production of colossal quantities of material in the factory , speeding the construction process despite a harsh winter.
The new paddock facilities have been recognised for its excellence in design, architecture and construction methods and tools. Awards and recognition include:
• Award of excellence, Canadian Architect – 2018.
• Mention en innovation de l’OAQ – 2020.
• Grand Prix d’excellence de l’OAQ – 2020.
Project name: F1 Canadian Grand Prix – New Paddock.
Location: Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, Montreal, QC.
Commissioning date: May 2019.
Client: Société du Parc Jean Drapeau.
Architect: Architects FABG-Éric Gauthier (project director), Marc Paradis (project manager), Nicolas Moussa (project manager).
General contractor: GEYSER Group.
Ing. Structure: CIMA+.
Photo credits: Steve Montpetit.
Acknowledgement and thanks are given to v2com for the information contained in this editorial.
For more information, visit https://www.parcjeandrapeau.com/en/major-projects/espace-paddock-circuit-gilles-villeneuve-montreal/ or www.arch-fabg.com.
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