Montreal's Quartier des Spectacles (QDS), a central entertainment district extending over one square kilometre, is a priority project for the City of Montreal (Canada) in connection with its 2025 strategic plan. It is also Montreal's largest urban revitalization project in recent years. Designed in part to provide a central hub for various local festivals, the QDS project was seen as a major undertaking along the lines of the Quartier international de Montréal. The project was carried out amid extensive media coverage and very high expectations.
In a consortium with Groupe SM, WSP was in charge of engineering for several phases, including various public plazas: Eugène Lapierre Island, Clark Esplanade, Festival Promenade and Adresse Symphonique Plaza.
Project completion in downtown Montreal presented a major organizational challenge for WSP as the project supervisor. The work had to be orchestrated according to multiple external factors, including a strict schedule given to the presence of various businesses and institutions to which access had to be maintained at all times, the proximity of two subway stations and their tunnel (which meant that the level of shaking/vibrations was restricted), work on adjacent sites and pedestrian safety on adjacent sidewalks.
Such a project requires that engineers have the flexibility to follow the implementation prerogatives of a distinctive urban design project and to adapt swiftly to existing site conditions. The ability to efficiently implement changes while minimizing impact on construction schedule and project costs was one of WSP’s greatest strengths.
This project presented numerous technical challenges with respect to outdoor spaces (e.g. a public plaza made out of granite, culverts with mist effects, gigantic lighting towers, a future outdoor skating rink). Finally, a very large number of disruptions had to be managed: shows, parades, multiple projects carried out simultaneously in different parts of the QDS.