The newly-restored Pavillon lac-aux-castors, or Beaver Lake Pavilion (fig. 1), is a distinctive modern building located in Mount Royal Park, bEAvER LAkE Montreal, Quebec. Hazen Sise and Guy Desbarats, later partners in the highly successful firm of ARCOP, designed the pavilion (completed 1958) for Parks Services of Montreal.1 A seventeenth-century farmhouse cynthia haMMond on the outskirts of Montreal haunts this ice-skaters’ retreat from the STORIES AND cold; signifiers of Quebecois rural vernacular resonate in the dimensions, materials and formal decisions.2 Beaver Lake Pavilion holds a multi-faceted mirror up to history, reflecting an image of 50 regional architectural identity within its distinctive modern form. 51 ThE PARADOXIcAL SyNTAgMA OF MODERN hERITAgE 1 the phrase “paradoxical 2 guy desbarats refers to “a fig. 1 Beaver Lake pavilion/Pavillon syntagma” is borrowed from: France good French canadian farmhouse lac-aux-castors, hazen sise and vanlaetham, “the difficulté d’etre of i knew back near Mirabel” as a key guy desbarats, designed 1954, the modern age” in the Journal of inspiration for the pavilion in his completed 1958, Montreal, Quebec; architecture 9 (summer, 2004) interview with Jim donaldson restoration by pierina saia in 157-171. the first landscape design of 1998. see alumni interviews, association with réal paul, 2006 for the pavilion was executed by school of architecture, Mcgill Frederick gage todd in 1937-38. university (11 november 1998), online transcript. updated 16 september 2006. <www.mcgill.ca/ architecture/aluminterviews/ desbarats/> (accessed 7 February 2007). fig. 2 interior stairwell, Beaver Lake pavilion/Pavillon lac-aux-castors fig. 3 view of cedar ceiling, Beaver lake pavilion/Pavillon Lac-aux-castors The mirror reflects, further, if not the future, then a desire for the future public life of this building. As part of the vulnerable cache of modern buildings in Canada, the pavilion’s recent, award-winning restoration is a defense for the collective architectural culture of Canadian modernism.3 Equally, it resounds within the discourse of a b e aV e r l a k e S to r i e S politically emergent, Quebecois cultural and social history, and its contemporary parallel: the accelerating urban preservation movement in the province as a whole. These two “publics” are intersected by the public that uses this space on a daily and weekly basis. It is useful to Ai examine the architecture and restoration of Beaver Lake Pavilion 52 through these adjacent, and at times, competing publics. 53 Financed by the City of Montreal and the Société d’Habitation du Québec, Power Corporation and Les Amis de la Montagne, the restoration makes a respectful and creative homage to the original design. Pierina Saia began work on the pavilion in 2003, completing the project in 2006. A new lighting system4 and artist-designed wall panels5 are now integrated with the pavilion’s distinctive butterfly roof, interior features and careful siting. Saia removed incongruous additions, and made exact replications of the original, aluminum fenestration. The work included resurfacing of the concrete and original formwork, as well as repairs to the terrazzo floors, cherrywood paneling and columns, and to the suspended, cedar lattice ceiling. The cloakroom below is enhanced by retrofitted restrooms, while new benches with built-in lockers keep the view to the exterior clear. The expansive dining area, above, no longer has the Charles Eames’ furniture from the 1950s, but the new choices retain the sense of lightness and precision found in the journey throughout the space. Of particular note are the restored, central staircase and lattice ceiling,6 where the design’s debt to Alvar Aalto and Scandinavian modernism may be most evident (figs. 2-3).7 3 the pavilion won both le prix 6 this feature is, unfortunately, orange and the ordre des archi- under some threat.saia explains that tects du Québec award, both for safety concerns for future customers restoration, 2006 and 2007 respec- to the planned, paying restaurant on tively. restoration: réal paul, projet the second floor, may lead to the manager; pierina saia, project walling in of the staircase. personal architect. interview, 30 January 2007, Mcgill university. 4 Jérémia gendron, hélène Fortin, dionisios psychas, lighting 7 desbarats, alumni interviews: designers. “[in the 1950s] aalto quickly became my hero, and still is.” 5 claude vermette and Mariette rousseau, integrated artistic ele- ments. 8 other important examples in 9 city of Montreal, “directional 11 arpin and Bergeron 128-129. Montreal would include the public statement: ville de Montréal: heri- recent publications elaborate this housing projects, Benny’s Farm tage policy” urban heritage 2004. connection, such as, architecture, (harold J. doran, 1946) and Les < http://ville.montreal.qc.ca/pls/ forme urbaine et identité collective, appartements Jeanne-Mance (Ma- clennan, greenspoon, Freedlander, portal/> (accessed 25 May, 2007). Luc noppen, ed. (Québec: septen- trion, céLat, 1995); patrimoine et cultural heritage at UQAM (Université du Québec à Montréal), state, docs/page/patrimoine_urbain_en/ dunne, 1958); and the town of media/documents/enonce_cen. patrimonialisation du Québec et “The history of Quebec is a history of builders. From the conquest, Mount royal post office (Jean d’ailleurs, Martin drouin, ed. (Mon- Michaud and raymond t. affleck, pdf>. tréal: éditions Multimondes/collec- inch by inch, of the wilderness, up until the gigantic hydro-electric 1955). there are many examples of 10 roland arpin and yves tion cahiers de l’institut du patri- modern, domestic architecture in Bergeron, “developing a cultural moine de L’uQaM, 2006); and Lucie works of recent decades, it is the history of a small nation continuously Montreal, and in the public architec- ture of other Quebec towns. see policy on heritage for Quebec” Museum international 58, 4 (2006): k. Morisset, La meemoire du pay- sage: historie de la forme urbaine on the advance that is being written … we must now add heritage to b e aV e r l a k e S to r i e S claude Bergeron, “L’Ère de la ban- 70. d’un centre-ville: saint roch, Qué- the above”.12 lieue, 1945-1970”, architectures du bec (Québec: Les presses de xxe siècle au Québec (Quebec: L’université Laval, 2001). If architecture, by way of building, is part of the advance of the Musée de la civilization, 1989) 143-208. 12 arpin and Bergeron 70. nation of Quebec, and if the identification, protection and preservation of built heritage are equally a part of that advance, then it becomes Ai clear that the restoration of Beaver Lake Pavilion is a significant part 54 Apart from these important features, the pavilion is exceptional in of the articulation and execution of that progress. Of course, this is a 55 Montreal as it is among the earliest examples of post-war modernism meaning, or signification for the pavilion that has been applied to be built in the city with public funds.8 It is also the first modern retroactively. As far as the architects’ intentions can be discerned, the building whose restoration was publicly funded. The parentheses of commission was less an opportunity to explore a national culture public funding offer the opportunity to examine the building within than it was a break in the culturally repressive regime of le grand its local, national, and international contexts. How do the commission noiceur, or the “great darkness” of Quebec at the mid-century point. and design of the pavilion relate to the utopian post-nationalism of Under the regime of Maurice Duplessis, premier of the province from certain strains of modern architecture? What are the tensions between 1936-39, and again from 1944-1959, education and services for the the universalizing language of heritage, the particularities of general public were kept to a minimum, while rights for workers preservation activities in Quebec, and the specificities (architectural diminished and clerical power increased. Tradition, “rural” values and social) of this particular commission? Via the example of Beaver and deference to paternalistic authority were the hallmarks of the Lake Pavilion, it is possible to consider the architectural debates of the Duplessis era, but these values lacked neither detractors nor resistance. post-war period, and the unexpected parallel between the emergence For Sise, a professor of architectural history at McGill University of preservation discourse and practice in the 1950s, and the emergence fascinated with modernism, and for Desbarats, a young architect of “modern heritage” as a category of our own times. whose training was steeped in Quebec vernacular, Beaver Lake The timing and funding of the Beaver Lake Pavilion restoration Pavilion was a chance to explore, in fact, an architecture that was speak to current civic and cultural concerns in Montreal, and in hoped to exceed nationalisms and chauvinisms, while at the same Quebec as a whole. Montreal’s recent designation as a UNESCO “City time respond to a local history of building practice that spoke to the of Design” (2006) marks a moment of international recognition for the fortitude of the traditions and people of the region.13 city, which is nurturing hopes of even greater recognition within the “world heritage” category. Bids to have sectors of the city recognized 13 the influence of the local and Montreal as part of his student work, the international on this building can explains that the affective aspects of as public heritage9 must be understood as part of a broad (but be extracted from various sources the design were due to his “roots in longstanding) campaign in Quebec to establish heritage as a priority beyond the pavilion itself. France vanlaethem explains that desbarats Quebec and canada”. hazen sise, before joining arcop, was profes- of the state. A state-directed “heritage system”10 for Quebec, as it has visited the 1951 Festival of Britain, sor of architectural history at Mcgill where he and other canadian archi- university, and would have been been articulated thus far, is very much linked to questions of collective tects were exposed to modernism as aware of international architectural expressed in civic plans and for developments, but also, according identity, shared memory and nationalism.11 Significantly, however, it public purposes. “Le pavillon du lac to desbarats, understood the desire also is deeply tethered to the built environment. In their recent article aux castors dans le parc du mont royal à Montréal” Bulletin (doco- to use the pavilion to express roots: “hazen shared [these roots]. hazen on cultural policy and heritage, Roland Arpin, Director-General of the momo Québec) 1 (hiver 1994): 2. shared them.” desbarats, alumni Equally, desbarats, who produced interviews. Musée du Québec, and Yves Bergeron, professor of museology and an extensive study on housing in 14 petronella van dijk, (pamphlet) 16 réal paul in association with Mount royal revisited (Montreal: pierina saia, press release, centre de la Montagne, nd) 9. “restoration of the Beaver Lake chalet, Mount royal park” (2006) 15 group cardinal-hardy, land- scape architects; deslisle, despaux p. 3. Corbusier (Cambridge, Mass., 1963). At Beaver Lake Pavilion, the et associé, teknika, engineers. generosity of scale in the open plan, 25 foot bays, and balcony/portico extends to the surrounding terraces, also recently redesigned. 15 Through its transparency and accessibility, the pavilion welcomes the visitor, embraces the surrounding park, while integrating art and b e aV e r l a k e S to r i e S architecture in a series of artist-designed overlays along the west front. The bright crimson and pumpkin sections of the enormous spandrel panels on the east façade are the design of Claude Vermette and Mariette Rousseau, whose work offered Saia “a rare opportunity for fig. 4 Beaver Lake pavilion/Pavillon Ai symbiosis between art and architecture”, one that reprised the artists’ lac-aux-castors, view from ski hill across Beaver Lake, and towards 56 The pavilion is situated two-thirds from the peak of Mount Royal, a role in the original collaboration between Sise and Desbarats.16 saint-Joseph’s oratory 57 public park first laid out by American landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted in 1874. The park covers approximately ten square kilometers in the city, or about fourteen percent of the total land surface of the island of Montreal.14 The park is accessible via a broad pathway – Olmsted Trail – that winds around the topography of the “mountain”. While there are only a few buildings scattered over the site of the park proper, major hospitals and university buildings have taken possession of the north and south borders of the park, while neighbourhoods of high property value, Outremont and Westmount, shore up the east and west flanks of the mountain. The park is, nonetheless, broadly understood as a public possession, and each week thousands of residents and tourists take to the footpaths and cross- country trails of Mount Royal. The park is also accessible via Chemin Remembrance, which cuts over the mountain between the park and two adjoining cemeteries. Either route will lead to the pavilion, located in the area of Mount Royal known, from Olmsted’s original plan, as “the Glades” – a gently rolling, landscaped zone around a clover-leaf, artificial lake which gives Beaver Lake Pavilion its rather awkward name. (Fig. 4) The pavilion is set into rock at the eastern edge of the lake, looking west over the water (and in winter, skating rink) and towards Mount Royal’s peak. The three-bay, reinforced concrete building features a “butterfly” roof, curtain walls on three sides, and a varied-width portico beneath a cantilevered balcony at the second story. The second story is also accessible via a curved ramp to the south, evoking the modernist tradition of using a ramp to traverse open space, either within a building, such as at Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye (Poissy, France, 1929- 1930), or on the exterior, such as at the Carpenter Centre, also by Le fig. 5 common room, Ferme saint- 17 desbarats, interviews. gabriel, pointe saint-charles, 18 see harold kalman, “new Quebec. ramsay traquair archive, France: domestic architecture”, in a Mcgill university history of canadian architecture, fig. 6 réal paul in association with vol. i (toronto, new york, oxford: pierina saia, ground floor plan, oxford up, 1995) 40-52. Beaver Lake pavilion/Pavillon lac- 19 artists of note in this regard aux-castors (note hearth at bottom could include clarence gagnon, left) ozias Leduc, and anne savage. with regard to land in literature, see Magali compan and katarzyna pieprzak, eds., Land and Landscape b e aV e r l a k e S to r i e S in Francographic Literature: remap- ping uncertain territories (new- castle: cambridge scholars pub- lishing, 2007). Ai 58 In an interview from 1998, Guy Desbarats discusses the formal 59 precedents of Beaver Lake Pavilion, beyond the modernist pavilion and the chalet. Beaver Lake, Desbarats explaines, “began another stream in my career … I was determined to be a regionalist. [T]he plan and the structure… the way it sits and the massing, were inspired by a good French Canadian farmhouse I knew back near Mirabel [Montreal], built on a hillside with verandas. It’s a basic French Canadian farmhouse type.”17 And certainly, the fieldstone that constitutes the rear elevation and integration of the pavilion into the rock to the west, evokes not only the materials of a rural farmhouse, but also its construction. The dramatic butterfly roof could be interpreted as a response to the peaked roof tradition of Quebecois farmhouses, or perhaps a stylization of the dormer windows familiar to this same type. Equally, the projecting balcony could be an abstraction of the flared eaves of many seventeenth and eighteenth century farmhouses in Quebec vernacular housing.18 Certainly the glazed curtain walls that comprise three of the pavilion’s facades have no precedent in regionalism; indeed, they are a valentine to the expressive possibilities of light and site. But the low-ceilinged, ground storey of the common room at Ferme Saint-Gabriel, Pointe- Saint-Charles, (fig. 5) is arguably evocative of the broad, rectangular plan of the pavilion. Moreover, the purpose of the ground floor common room of Ferme Saint-Gabriel is that of the lower floor of Beaver Lake Pavilion: to gather and share the warmth of a hearth situated at the far end of the space. (Fig. 6) Speculations aside, the combination of a shallow, lower storey with a soaring, spacious upper has clear resonance with the Quebec building tradition (fig. 7), as well as with the Quebec landscape tradition in painting and literature, in which land, and the homes on that land, become tropes for themes of belonging, identity, and the sense of place.19 As professor and student at McGill, respectively, fig. 7 plans, sections and elevations 20 From the beginning of the of the villeneuve house, twentieth century until today, charlesbourg, Quebec, probably c. fieldwork investigation of Quebec’s 1700. v. d. Bouchard. ramsay colonial, regional architecture has traquair archive, Mcgill university constituted a serious aspect of the training of architects and architectural historians at schools in Montreal and later, at Laval. see annmarie adams, Martin Bressani, “canada: the Edge condition,” the Journal of the society of architectural historians 62, 1 (March 2003): 76, 79. b e aV e r l a k e S to r i e S 21 Like central park in new york, Mount royal was a site of contested intentions, but part of its purpose was attached to the late-nineteenth- century enterprise to provide out- door spaces for working people. Ai see a. L. Murray, “Frederick Law olmsted and the design of Mount 60 Sise and Desbarats would have had considerable engagement with the royal park, Montreal”, the Journal of the society of architectural histori- 61 School of Architecture’s five decades of research into this tradition, ans 26, 3 (october 1967): 163. through the teaching and texts of Ramsay Traquair, Gerard Morisset, 22 France vanlaethem, “the dif- ficulté d’etre of the modern heri- and John Bland.20 As a space conceived in part for the working people tage”, the Journal of architecture 9 (summer 2004): 159. of Montreal,21 who have been predominantly French-speaking and 23 several recent initiatives in this Catholic, Beaver Lake Pavilion was a building that would address its regard would include two confer- ences organized by Modern canada users through an architectural language that spoke in familiar words and the society for the study of architecture in canada, respec- about a better future. tively: “conserving the Modern in As the first modern building to be conserved with public funds in canada” (6-8 May 2005) trent university, peterborough, ontario; the city of Montreal, the pavilion poses an important locus for “architectural history and heritagi- zation in canada” (17-20 May 2007). reflection on the critical connections it summons between 24 “report: Modernism is us”, architecture, heritage, patrimoine, nation, memory and identity. canadian architect 50 (august 2005): Modern heritage, as France Vanlaethem has argued, is a paradoxical syntagma, a construction whose meaning occurs in the relation of words, in this case, an apparent oxymoron. Within this concept, she continues, “ancient and modern, the permanent and the ephemeral, intermingle in confusion.”22 Added to this confusion is the fact that defenders of modern architectural heritage have struggled to develop cultural recognition for its merits, and its place within broader patrimonial schemes.23 Those acting on behalf of the future of our modern past, as it were, occupy an even deeper paradox. As Ian Panabaker puts it, The modernist “break from history” provided the basic strategy which drove our postwar development. It is ironic (or is it the end of irony?) that the [modern heritage movement] is becoming the means for consciously re-establishing the continuum of history.24 25 vanlaethem 165. 27 see peter dickinson and Brian 29 groupe-conseil sous la 31 see, for example, david Lowen- young, “From depression to Quiet présidence de monsieur roland thal, possessed by the past: the 26 in her paper, “the gallicization revolution” in a short history of arpin, notre patrimoine: un présent heritage crusade and the spoils of of Montreal: public art and architec- Quebec (Mcgill-Queen’s up, 2003) du passée (Québec: Le groupe- history (new york: Free press, ture during the Quiet revolution” (canadian centre for architecture, 271-304, and the tremblay report, quoted in same, 296. conseil sur la politique du patrimoine culturel du Québec, 2000) 55. 1996); dolores hayden, the power of place: urban Landscapes as become a crucial collision between architectural expression and Montreal, 4 april, 2003), art histo- rian annie gerin suggests that this 28 claude Bélanger, “tremblay 30 “La valeur patrimoniale d’un public history (cambridge, Mass.: political intention in Montreal in the 1960s and 70s, its use of Mit, 1995); Lisa Breglia, Monumen- effect was intentional, and part of the movement towards sovereignty. report and provincial autonomy in the duplessis Era (1956).” read- bâtiment, en effet, ne tient pas à son seul âge ou à sa rareté, mais bien au tal ambivalence: the politics of regionalism is nevertheless at once powerful and, strangely, humble. heritage (austin, texas: u of texas see also drouin, op cit., for a dis- ings in Quebec history, Marianopo- sentiment d’appartenance qu’il p, 2006). It would be unfair to divide the signifying capacities of the pavilion cussion of the contested demolitions lis college (1998) (updated 23 inspire et à la pertinence qu’il of “golden square Mile” mansions, august 2000) < http://faculty. représente pour sa communauté.” into a binary, but still, one has the impression that the pavilion slipped the former homes of the predomi- marianopolis.edu/c.belanger/que- (55) while the report does name b e aV e r l a k e S to r i e S nantly anglophone, late victorian, bechistory/readings/tremblay.htm> different communities in Montreal its progressive architecture past the Duplessis era, just as it slipped its and early-twentieth century elite. (accessed 5 May 2007). and Quebec, the establishment of pertinence and cultural, if not actual, call to collective identity past the vestiges of the old, anglophone ownership remains unclear. elite. Perhaps it was this double move that has protected the Beaver Lake Ai Pavilion against the fate of many modern, public buildings that have 62 The inevitable question is, which history? Modernism remains for fallen out of aesthetic and ideological favour. Despite the rumors of 63 many the style of architecture that displaced a beloved building or demolishment and longstanding neglect, the pavilion survived the fiscal neighbourhood, in the name of progress and rationalization. The plummet after Expo 67, the October crisis aftermath, the postmodern cultivation of general appreciation for what modernism tried to do, era in architecture, and a slow economy through the 1980s and early and what it looks like, is still an uphill battle. Nevertheless, as 1990s. In 1994, architectural historian and president of Docomomo, Vanlaethem suggests, in younger nations like Canada, “where social Quebec, France Vanlaethem, led a campaign to raise awareness of the modernization of the twentieth century occurred simultaneously pavilion’s state of decay, and its importance to the architectural heritage with national self-affirmation, modern architecture was placed at the of Quebec, and of the modern movement generally. Her efforts, coupled heart of the federal government’s cultural policy during the 1950s and with those of a non-profit group, The Friends of the Mountain (Les Amis 1960s.”25 This situation is complicated in Quebec, where the remarkable de la Montagne) culminated in the building’s protection as an historic programme of modern, public and corporate architecture built monument, and later, in the decision of the City of Montreal in 2003 to between 1955 and 1976 in Montreal, then under the political leadership award funds to the pavilion’s refurbishment. Vanlaethem’s publication of Jean Drapeau, had the effect of quite literally supplanting the (b) concerned itself with the history, design details and architectural architecture of former ruling classes and institutions, both anglophone value of the pavilion. In contrast, a more recent, government-produced and Quebecois.26 While this wave of construction was largely inspired publication devoted to heritage in general in Quebec describes modern by successful bids to host Expo 67 and the 1976 Olympics, the architecture very rarely, and when it does, referred to it as “less association between architecture and a collective, Quebecois identity exceptional” than the built heritage of a previous era, particularly as had been established within the previous generation. Under (but in compared to that of religious institutions.29 The importance of the deliberate opposition to) Duplessis, who would die the year after the architecture of the twentieth century, the report continues, lies not in its Pavilion opened, the Tremblay Report was published in 1956. In this appearance, but in its affective relationship to and significance for “the report, Quebec emerges as “the primary defender of a threatened community”, which is not defined.30 culture”, whose position in Canada is that of “accredited guardian of Saia’s work at Beaver Lake heralds the arrival of “modern heritage” French-Canadian civilization.”27 Although the Report would not find on the stage of Montreal’s urban agenda. Heritage, a deeply contested a full audience until the leadership of Jean Lesage, its effort to define notion, has been a significant aspect of recent global discourse on the Quebecois identity through its unique culture was notable for its future of the built environment. As such, it has a powerful hand in the expression of broadly-shared sentiments, and for its simultaneous call shaping in local preservation and development policies of cities with to the past and to the future of Quebec.28 Modernism’s arrival in ambitious urban aspirations. The links between heritage, state, and Quebec coincides with this important period in Quebec’s history of tourism have been explored with vigor and insight during the past ten nationalism. If Beaver Lake Pavilion is an early example of what would years.31 Yet “heritage”, as a prescriptive and at times moralizing notion, 32 unEsco, “world heritage,” about world heritage (updated 29 May 2007) <http://whc.unesco.org/ en/about/>. (accessed 29 May 2007). deployed in universalizing rhetoric, with the effect that the heritage 33 Breglia 28. object – be it a building, a site, or a practice – is valued not for its evocation 34 paolo scrivano, Filippo de pieri, “representing the ‘historical of difference, but its assumed participation in a universal whole. Ten centre’ of Bologna: preservation policies and reinvention of an urban years after David Lowenthal memorably coined the term, “heritage identity”, urban history review 33, 1 (Fall 2004): crusade”, it is important to ask what the effects of this contradiction, in b e aV e r l a k e S to r i e S heritage policy and practice, have been. One effect has been the growing body of criticism of heritage policy and practice. As Lisa Breglia has observed in her study of the commercialization of and hegemonic struggles over heritage sites in Ai the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, “patrimony is a historically contingent 64 continues to be deployed without question of the values and exclusions practice that is as much related to the changing field of social relations 65 that are embedded within it, values and exclusions which differ, as it is to material culture.”33 This observation alone is useful in necessarily, from place to place. The UNESCO World Heritage considering how the practice and discourse of urban preservation often Organization, which must be considered a forceful arbiter in the operate at a distance from critical thought. But these practices and understanding and use of this term, offers the following definition: discourses, dependent rhetorically on what are, ultimately, unstable categories, have altered little in this regard for the bulk of their twentieth Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what century history. As Paolo Scrivano and Filippo De Pieri conclude in we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are their study of early urban preservation in the city of Bologna, Italy, “One both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration … What makes the of the main goals of the preservation policy was to build consensus concept of World Heritage exceptional is its universal application. World among Bologna’s citizens; in doing this, administrators, architects, and Heritage sites belong to all the peoples of the world, irrespective of the planners tried to associate a sense of citizenship with a notion of shared territory on which they are located.32 tradition.”34 This is certainly the same call made in much heritage propaganda today. The assumed necessity of heritage to identity-formation, and even to Of course, the language of heritage has not failed to respond to life itself is explicit in this statement. This alone is worthy of some critiques. On the contrary, the notion of heritage is continually critical interrogation, but I would like to attend to a less obvious expanding, including an ever-greater number of situations, sites, tautology buried in the statement. Heritage is here a possession, perhaps histories. In 2001 UNESCO adopted the concept of “intangible heritage”, cultural, perhaps shared, but nonetheless a possession, which will be to encompass practices that in some way communicate or support a handed down to future generations. Yet in the same definition, heritage community’s identity or roots. Indeed, while tourism revenues and the is also that which belongs to everyone, and therefore, no-one in attraction of potential investment are undeniably part of urban heritage particular. It is through the latter axis of the definition that UNESCO policy, it is more emotional concepts such as collective identity, origins, positions itself as a politically unaffiliated organization, working on and memory that remain at the heart of heritage policy in many locations. behalf of “all the peoples of the world”, but again, for no-one in particular. While the expanded definition, above, is laudable on some levels, and The logic of ownership guarantees an affective connection between can be understood as simply strategic on others, it remains troubling. individuals and whatever “heritage” is in question, while the While it is agreed in many intellectual disciplines that neither identity, organization moves above the inevitable cultural, political and origins nor memory are in any way essential or guaranteed, such economic differences that in fact create such strongly affective awareness has not yet permeated the public articulations of urban connections, waving the banner of another affective but generalized heritage policy in a satisfying or substantial fashion. In other words, the concept, universality. The particular, in other words, is strategically discourse of heritage remains anchored in oddly simplistic articulations 35 réal paul in association with pierina saia, press release, “resto- ration of the Beaver Lake chalet, Mount royal park” (2006) p. 3. 36 “Every Form of art has a politi- moves around and between the two. As Saia writes, “The skaters’ cal dimension,” grey room, 2 (winter 2001): 123. lounge is now arranged like an amphitheatre with the mountain as stage.”35 And the men and women who visit the pavilion are indeed players. These Tuesday evenings, or those Thursday evenings when the dancing is from the Balkans and the Middle East, or Monday b e aV e r l a k e S to r i e S evenings when the dancing is folk-based, suggest a lens of interpretation other than that of heritage for the pavilion and its considerable, “intangible” worth: the lens of those publics who use the building. As the dancers and the music occupy, temporarily, the building and its Ai environs, they respond to its intentions and simultaneously, create a 66 of collectivity and significance, which might not be a problem if not for new identity for the pavilion. For a few hours, the pavilion becomes a 67 the fact that the sites and buildings labeled “heritage” are often more site of nostalgia and yearning for places and cultures that have nothing complex than such articulations can allow. The risk is that heritage to do with either modernist fantasies of postnationality, nor yet with practice is framed, that is, defended and rationalized in terms that are regionalist traditions. The pavilion becomes a spectacle in and of insufficient to the actual nuances of a place. And it is an interesting itself, as the lake and the mountain fade into evening darkness. The question: what, if not collective identity, origins and memory, should windows no longer provide a view to the trees and hills; they provide a motivate the restoration of such locations? view to what is happening inside the building, and at its doorstep. There have been over a century of visitors to Mount Royal: tourists, Different communities intersect in this place, which works to briefly dedicated joggers, cyclists and walkers. While Beaver Lake Pavilion is shelter culturally-specific identification, pleasure, even education not the only site to see or building to visit, it is nonetheless a particularly (anyone may join in and learn a few steps). This makes the pavilion a social site. Skaters have taken to the frozen lake in winter since 1938, messy place, ontologically, but, as Chantal Mouffe has argued, while paddleboaters and picnickers benefit from the site in summer. collective identifications have to do with desire, with fantasies, with Tobogganists, cross-country skiers, tourists and nature enthusiasts everything that is precisely not interests or the rational.”36 Collective also use this space. In addition to refurbishing the intended purpose expressions of desire are untidy things, especially when mixed with of this modern gem, the restoration of Beaver Lake Pavilion has the collective desires of others, and this is why they elude representation reframed a variety of unexpected uses to which the pavilion has been in even the most carefully inclusive documents on heritage policy. put in the past fifty-five years. Multiple constituencies within the rich The pavilion is a light-filled, convivial, user-friendly place. Restored social and political diversity of Montreal use the building on a regular in full to its original purpose and aesthetics, it makes an excellent, in basis, transforming it temporarily for different cultural activities. fact, cheery argument for modern architecture generally, and for the The Tuesday night tradition of Israeli folkdancing on the pavilion’s historic traces of modern architecture as very deserving of public terrace, led by Master of Ceremonies, Maurice Perez, has been held funds. Beyond this argument, however, the pavilion makes another, every July and August since the early 1980s. (Fig. 8-9) Since the equally important thesis. But to recognize it, one must visit on a warm completion of the renovation, these regular users have returned to night between July and August, between seven and ten in the evening. their tradition, half as old as the pavilion itself. The upper storey of Then, dancers glide and sometimes stumble over the terraces, backlit the pavilion, as well as the balcony allow for the kind of contemplative by the beautifully fenestrated curtain walls of the pavilion. As one appreciation of the renovation that it truly deserves: from there, the moves away into the night, the pavilion lights up like a golden lantern, original purpose of the pavilion is clear. It is an aperture through its amber and vermillion panels casting a warm glow onto the moving which one may simply gaze out onto Beaver Lake and the old ski hill, bodies, the spectators, the lovers, the cleaning staff, and the great but importantly, it allows also a view to the rich pageant of life that variety of passing participants in this diminutive modern experiment. fig. 8 dancing, Beaver Lake ILLUSTRATION CREDITS pavilion/Pavillon lac-aux-castors, figs. 1–7 courtesy cynthia hammond; fig. 8 courtesy Mcgill university. July 2007 b e aV e r l a k e S to r i e S Ai 68 The paradoxical syntagma of modern heritage at Beaver Lake Pavilion 69 is worth the mess, whether one encounters it through the battle to preserve modern architectural monuments, or in the defense, preservation, and enjoyment of spaces for diverse and contradictory publics. SOURCES CITED adams, annmarie, Martin Bressani. “canada: the Edge condition.” The groupe-conseil sous la présidence de monsieur roland arpin. Notre Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 62, 1 (March 2003) 75-83. Patrimoine: Un présent du passée. Québec: Le groupe-conseil sur la politique du patrimoine culturel du Québec, 2000. arpin, roland and yves Bergeron, “developing a cultural policy on heritage for Quebec” Museum International 58, 4 (2006) 69-75. kalman, harold. A History of Canadian Architecture, vol. I. toronto, new york, oxford: oxford up, 1995. 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(online transcript) Montreal. updated 16 september 2006. <www.mcgill.ca/architecture/aluminterviews/ desbarats/> (accessed 7 February 2007). scrivano, paolo, Filippo de pieri, “representing the ‘historical centre’ of Bologna: preservation policies and reinvention of an urban identity”, Urban dickenson, peter and Brian young. A Short History of Quebec (Mcgill- History Review 33, 1 (Fall 2004) Queen’s up, 2003. unEsco. “world heritage.” About World Heritage. updated 29 May 2007. drouin, Martin, ed. Patrimoine et patrimonialisation du Québec et d’ailleurs. <http://whc.unesco.org/en/about/>. (accessed 29 May 2007). Montréal: éditions Multimondes/collection cahiers de l’institut du patrimoine de L’uQaM, 2006. (a) vanlaethem, France. “the difficulté d’être of the modern age” in The Journal of Architecture 9 (summer 2004): 157-171. gerin, annie. “the gallicization of Montreal: public art and architecture during the Quiet revolution.” public lecture. canadian centre for (b) _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _. “Le pavillon du lac aux castors dans le parc du Mont royal architecture, Montreal, 4 april 2003. à Montréal” Bulletin (Docomomo Québec) 1 (hiver 1994) 1-2. van dijk, petronella. (pamphlet) Mount Royal Revisited. Montreal: centre de la Montagne, nd.
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