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© Maxime Brouillet


Client: Société des établissement de plein air du Québec (Sépaq) Photo credit: Maxime Brouillet Client: Société des établissement de plein air du Québec (Sépaq) Photo credit: Maxime Brouillet Architecture, urban design and landscape: Daoust Lestage Lizotte Stecker, Réal Lestage, Eric Lizotte, Caroline Beaulieu, Lucie Bibeau, Grégory Taillon, Luca Fortin, Mélissa Simard, Geneviève Bouthiller-Martel Structure and electricity: Tetra Tech, Martin Lemyre, Pierre Laliberté, Serge Ouellet Civil and environment: Cima+, Jacques Desjardins, Mélanie Primeau, Élizabeth Lessard-Giguère, Christian Gagnon, Jean-Rémi Julien Contractor: Construction Deric, Jérôme Després-Grenier, Émile Duchaine Vitrerie Univerre: Fourniture et installation des verres


¬More than 800,000 people visit the Parc de la Chute-Montmorency each year to enjoy the remarkable 83m high waterfall and the scenic surroundings.

Intervening in such an emblematic, vast, and imposing site requires respect and humility so that the visitor’s experience is entirely dedicated to contemplation and experience of the falls. The new installations realized as part of the Experience Chute project showcase the natural beauty of the Parc by drawing on its existing character.

The genius loci
The project approach aims to create an intervention that responds to the program defined by Sépaq, while responding harmoniously and meaningfully with the site. The multi-phase analysis of the historical evolution of the Parc fed the design process. The project seeks to assert its own personality in harmony with the genius loci of the site from the scale of the overall design language down to the specific resolution of the detailed components.

The overall vision is rooted in the historical richness of the place, while differentiating with the top of the cliff. The upper plateau of the waterfall is still associated with one of the great English estates that overlooked the St. Lawrence in the 19th century through the presence of the Manoir Montmorency. The historical evolution of the foot of the falls is representative of the layers of urbanization specific to the banks of Quebec City. From a natural site where the St. Lawrence River came to touch the foot of the cliff, named at the time the Bas-du-Sault, it was gradually modified by human interventions to develop its military, energy, and industrial potential, as well as by the passage of the railroad and a highway on large embankments.

The vestiges of this rich heritage are found at the foot of the falls and make up the material and immaterial memory from which the new developments find evocative meaning.

Sensitive architectural gestures magnifying the landscape.

The overall project is divided into two sub-sectors:
The Visitor Reception Area, south of the Chemin de fer Charlevoix aims to redefine the entrance route, reconfigure, and introduce landscape into the parking area, develop thematic gardens, interpret and highlight industrial remains and build a new service pavilion.

The Experience Chute Area, north of the railroad tracks, which consolidates a universally accessible circuit, allows visitors to approach the waterfall and complete a 4-segment tour around the river basin:
— The Contemplative Footbridge downstream from the basin (widening and upgrades of the existing pedestrian footbridge adjacent to the railway bridge).
— The Mineral Path and garden on the east side of the basin (upgrading of the concrete paths and belvedere built in 1967 ; gestures inspired by the modern movement).
— The Semi-submerged Passerelle upstream of the basin (development of a Semi-submerged Passerelle, hidden within the water, allowing visitors to approach the waterfall and feel its hydraulic power; a true technical innovation).
— The Nature Path and welcome pavilion on the western shore of the basin (development on stilts delicately integrated into the coastline).
The master plan sets out design guidelines for the site and represents Sépaq’s new roadmap for realizing its vision. A vision that reflects current and collective values with a contemporary resolution, intertwining architecture, landscape, programming and interpretation.