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Polymorphous Phi

Paul Chaca, Esaú Hernandez, and Julia Turner 
Polymorphous Phi

From the third-year graduate research studio Phi Bonsecours, Spring 2020
Faculty: Andrew Zago

About the studio:

This studio presented an opportunity to work with Phi, a major emerging arts organization in Montreal, in their development of a new arts center. In order to expand their operations and public presence, Phi has acquired a significant group of buildings and open space in the center of Old Montreal, which—with buildings dating to the seventeenth century—is one of the oldest urban areas in North America. By way of expanding their range of imagined possibilities, Phi invited several architecture schools in Canada and internationally to conduct design studios on this topic. This was one of the studios.

About the project:

To incorporate Phi’s four buildings and their varied histories into a twenty-first-century arts center, this project embraced the multiplicities of identities, ground-lines, histories, and uses of the site. We sought to create a polymorphous building: a building that occurs in and has many forms, shapes, and appearances. To address shifting technological and spatial needs, this project exposes the duality of the front-of-house and back-of-house spaces needed to create the illusions of contemporary art. Moving through the building, the user encounters a range of experiences, depending on her path, which includes four-hundred-year-old brick walls; exposed structural, utility, and technological components; and white boxes and black boxes.