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Cap-Rouge Memory Wall

History, art, and the environment come together in a meaningful design

  • Quebec City, Quebec

    Quebec City, Quebec

The writing is on the wall—literally—in this historic spot

The goals of this project were straightforward: shore up the Cap-Rouge cliff to preserve the site’s archaeological remains and highlight its cultural aspects. With an architecturally significant site and the unique characteristics of Northern cultures—or “nordicity”—as our inspiration, our team wanted a solution that married landscape innovations with artful expression.

The design features an environmentally-sensitive retaining wall that protects and commemorates the archaeological remains of North America’s first French colony. To evoke the site’s rich history, our designers selected naturally weathering Corten steel. In the early years of colonization, explorer Jacques Cartier had written about the site’s abundant trees and iron ore (found in steel). The qualities of the material make it as enduring as its raw connection to the site. Artistic features also include inscribed excerpts from Cartier’s travel journals on the wall. 

Our team also incorporated sustainable design principles and characteristics of the Northern cultures through the use of low-maintenance and durable materials, low-energy lighting, and native plants, shrubs, and trees. Ongoing collaboration with stakeholders and coordination between our interdisciplinary team made this work possible.

The result? A community amenity that can be enjoyed and discovered for generations.

At a Glance

Commission de la capitale nationale du Québec
Meet Our Team

André Arata, Principal

The essence of my work is to motivate the troops, listen to the needs of my clients, develop functional—yet also imaginative—practical designs, and, finally, communicate them.

André Arata


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