Théâtre de Quat’sous / FABG

© Steve Montpetit

Architects: Les architectes FABG
Location: Montreal, Quebec,
Principal in Charge: Éric Gauthier
Structure engineers: Aecom Tecsult
Mechanical and electrical engineers: Aecom Tecsult
Acoustician: Legault Davidson
Theater consultant: Trizart Alliance
Builder: Aecon
Project Area: 860 sqm
Budget: 4.5 M$
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Steve Montpetit

Théâtre de Quat’sous was established in 1963 by a group of actors under the direction of Paul Buissonneau. Together they bought a synagogue located on Avenue des Pins in Montréal and transformed it into a small theater that never ceased to present daring productions from young creators including the mythical psychedelic happening “Osstidcho” in may 1968.

ground floor plan

Serious problems related to the security and comfort of the users combined with the need for production spaces led to the decision to demolish and rebuild Théâtre de Quat’sous on it’s actual site after many feasibility studies demonstrated the impossibility to renovate the crumbling wood and brick structure built in 1907 as three row houses.

exploded axo

Avenue des Pins is a street that was created in 1907 after the demolition of existing buildings to facilitate access to the Mont-Royal as suggested by Frederick Law Olmsted. Today it is a collection of bad buildings and exposed firewalls that never met the promises of a prestigious boulevard leading to the Mountain.

© Steve Montpetit

Theater is about fugacity, a succession of unique moments that barely survive in the memories of those who were there. Theaters are ghostly figures that have witnessed what we are about to forget.

In reconstructing the Théâtre de Quat’sous we were specifically asked to incorporate whatever we could from the original building to help the new one evoke those memories.

© Steve Montpetit
© Steve Montpetit

We chose to sample textures, images, colors and materials from a cultural inventory of the theater and mapped them on the assemblage of required volumes (stage, house, foyer, crossover, control booth and rehearsal).

Recycling on site stones, slate, wood, bricks, marble and furniture becomes part of a strategy of cultural sustainability. New materials include silkscreened glass, black brick and perforated aluminum that contribute to make Théâtre de Quat’sous a ghostly figure accumulating memories.

Publication material via v2com

View this project in Google Maps

* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Théâtre de Quat’sous / FABG" 19 Feb 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 18 Sep 2014. <>


  1. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    This project exemplifies the problem with architecture in Canada and specifically Montreal. There is a complete lack of awareness and restraint in the use of materials and graphics. Furthermore, there is a difference between mapping (“We chose to sample textures, images, colors and materials from a cultural inventory of the theater and mapped them on the assemblage of required volumes”) and pasting, and this project demonstrates the latter.

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    agree with smthngsmthng
    it looks a boxy shaped form reminding hadid work but such texture (probably along with scale of perception) doesnt fit the whole.
    some fear of being boring i guess made designer do much waste of graphic.
    appearance is good and i liked the roof.

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    the way in which this project exemplifies the problem with architecture in canada (quebec) is not as much in the end result but more in the process …

    this public project was awarded directly to the architect without a competition even though there is regulation for such in quebec … it was awarded to the architect regardless of that regulation

    it’s a shame

  4. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I think you guys are a little hard on this project. The result is great especially if you consider the level of conservativeness that we find among patrons and city authorities in north america regarding design. It almost look like a japanese project to me. I really like the pattern in the white cladding.

  5. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I do believe there should have been a competition for this project, but it is a beautiful building even so. I don’t understand all the negative critique. I am Canadian, and I really like this building.

  6. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I like the free idea od composition but there is too much different materials on it. They are everywhere;)

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