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White Elephants: Over-Budget, Unsuccessful, and Embarrassing Architecture Projects From Around the World

09:50 - 26 September, 2016
White Elephants: Over-Budget, Unsuccessful, and Embarrassing Architecture Projects From Around the World

Not every piece of architecture can be an economic and social success. But there is one dreaded term reserved for only the mot wasteful of projects: "white elephants." The term comes from a story of the kings of Siam, now Thailand, who would reportedly gift sacred albino elephants to courtiers they didn't like. Refusing the gift from the king would have been unacceptable, but being sacred, these animals were forbidden from work, leading the courtier to financial ruin—a fact the kings knew all too well.

Of course, in architecture the term "white elephant" is used frequently to disparage certain projects, and whether a project is deserving of such infamy is usually a matter of perspective. Often eyesores or reminders of poorly spent funds, these projects refuse to be forgotten despite few wanting to remember them. Dotted around the world and across history, they all have the same thing in common: although they may (or may not) have once looked good on paper, they probably should have just stayed on paper.

Montreal's Three-Million-Square-Foot Hospital to Become Largest Healthcare Project in North America

08:00 - 15 September, 2016
Montreal's Three-Million-Square-Foot Hospital to Become Largest Healthcare Project in North America, Courtesy of CannonDesign + NEUF Architect(e)s
Courtesy of CannonDesign + NEUF Architect(e)s

CannonDesign and NEUF architect(e)s have unveiled the design for the Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM), the largest healthcare construction project in North America and one of the largest current healthcare projects in the world, which has been in the works for almost a decade. 

Spanning over 3 million square feet, the 22-story complex will merge three aging hospitals into one, creating a space with 772 single-bed patient rooms, 39 operating theaters, and more than 400 clinics and examination rooms.

Courtesy of CannonDesign + NEUF Architect(e)s Courtesy of CannonDesign + NEUF Architect(e)s Courtesy of CannonDesign + NEUF Architect(e)s Courtesy of CannonDesign + NEUF Architect(e)s +20

Atrium Townhome & Garden / RobitailleCurtis

11:00 - 15 August, 2016
Atrium Townhome & Garden / RobitailleCurtis, © RobitailleCurtis
© RobitailleCurtis

© RobitailleCurtis © RobitailleCurtis © RobitailleCurtis © RobitailleCurtis +17

  • Architects

  • Location

    Montreal, QC, Canada
  • Design Architect

    Andrew Curtis AIA, MRAIC, LEED BD+C
  • Designer

    Marie-Eve Lamarre Brodsky
  • Project Year

    2016
  • Photographs

Cinephile Offices / APPAREIL architecture

15:00 - 11 August, 2016
Cinephile Offices  / APPAREIL architecture , © Francois Bodlet
© Francois Bodlet

© Francois Bodlet © Francois Bodlet © Francois Bodlet © Francois Bodlet +12

Maison des Étudiants de l'ÉTS / Menkès Shooner Letourneaux Architectes

13:00 - 7 July, 2016
Maison des Étudiants de l'ÉTS / Menkès Shooner Letourneaux Architectes, © Stephane Brugger
© Stephane Brugger

© Stephane Brugger © Stephane Brugger © Stephane Brugger © Stephane Brugger +21

Provencher_Roy Unveil Plans for Montreal Port Terminal

12:00 - 21 June, 2016
Provencher_Roy Unveil Plans for Montreal Port Terminal, Courtesy of Provencher_Roy
Courtesy of Provencher_Roy

Montreal-based Provencher_Roy have released images of their designs for the restoration of Alexandra Pier and the Iberville International Passenger Terminal, currently under construction in Montreal's Old Port. The new terminal will accommodate the operational needs of the modern cruise ship, offering tourists a new entrance into the historic heart of the city, and will provide residents with a new promenade and public space integrated smoothly into the existing urban fabric.

Courtesy of Provencher_Roy Courtesy of Provencher_Roy Courtesy of Provencher_Roy Courtesy of Provencher_Roy +8

Expanded Audiences and the “Second Building” – an Interview with CCA Director Mirko Zardini

04:00 - 9 June, 2016
Expanded Audiences and the “Second Building” – an Interview with CCA Director Mirko Zardini, © CCA
© CCA

Montréal’s CCA (Canadian Centre for Architecture), the international museum and research center which was founded by Phyllis Lambert in 1979 and is currently directed by Mirko Zardini, has launched a new iteration of its website. The organisation’s new online presence has been conceived as an active editorial project which aims for more than dissemination of information alone; rather, it will take positions and—being organised around several themes such as “The Planet is the Client,” “Origins of the Digital” and “Technology Sometimes Falls Short”—will reflect the CCA’s ongoing research interests.

This interview with Zardini has been conducted by Steffen Boddeker (currently Director of Communications at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation – GSAPP), who has worked with the CCA as a communications and online consultant overseeing its web presence since 2006.

Marquette Residence / NatureHumaine

09:00 - 22 May, 2016
Marquette Residence  / NatureHumaine, © Adrien Williams
© Adrien Williams

© Adrien Williams © Adrien Williams © Adrien Williams © Adrien Williams +22

Hotel de Ville Residence / Architecture Microclimat

13:00 - 18 May, 2016
Hotel de Ville Residence  / Architecture Microclimat, © Adrien Williams
© Adrien Williams

© Adrien Williams © Adrien Williams © Adrien Williams © Adrien Williams +20

AT Office / Est Architecture

17:00 - 13 May, 2016
AT Office  / Est Architecture , Courtesy of Est Architecture
Courtesy of Est Architecture

Courtesy of Est Architecture Courtesy of Est Architecture Courtesy of Est Architecture Courtesy of Est Architecture +20

McCulloch Residence / NatureHumaine

17:00 - 21 April, 2016
McCulloch Residence / NatureHumaine, © Adrien Williams
© Adrien Williams

© Adrien Williams © Adrien Williams © Adrien Williams © Adrien Williams +18

Lightspeed's Headquarters / acdf architecture

09:00 - 11 April, 2016
Lightspeed's Headquarters / acdf architecture, © Adrien Williams
© Adrien Williams

© Adrien Williams © Adrien Williams © Adrien Williams © Adrien Williams +17

  • Architects

  • Location

    Amherst / Viger, Montréal, QC H2L, Canada
  • Architect Team

    Maxime-Alexis Frappier, Joan Renaud, Laure Giordani, Laurence Le Beux, Christelle Montreuil Jean-Pois
  • Area

    2620.0 sqm
  • Project Year

    2015
  • Photographs

Stade De Soccer de Montréal / Saucier + Perrotte architectes + HCMA

09:00 - 1 April, 2016
© Olivier Blouin
© Olivier Blouin

© Olivier Blouin © Olivier Blouin © Olivier Blouin © Olivier Blouin +33

The François-René Project / Architecture Open Form + Maître Carré

09:00 - 13 March, 2016
The François-René Project  / Architecture Open Form + Maître Carré, © Adrien Williams
© Adrien Williams

© Adrien Williams © Adrien Williams © Adrien Williams © Adrien Williams +14

La SHED Wins RAIC's Emerging Architectural Practice Award

12:00 - 7 March, 2016
La SHED Wins RAIC's Emerging Architectural Practice Award, © Maxime Brouillet
© Maxime Brouillet

The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) has selected La SHED Architecture as the recipient of its 2016 Emerging Architectural Practice Award. The small, nine-person office in Montreal is known for designing "fresh, contemporary houses inspired by the informal qualities," says the RAIC. It was founded in 2011 by University of Montreal graduates Renée Mailhot, MRAIC, Sébastien Parent and Yannick Laurin.

“This is a recently created firm that has developed a coherent and consistent body of high-quality architectural work in a rapid time frame,” said the five-member jury. “It has achieved this while often working within limited budgets.” 

gb1 / gauleybrothers

15:00 - 26 February, 2016
gb1 / gauleybrothers, © Matderome
© Matderome

© Matderome © Matderome © Matderome © Matderome +13

Golf Welcome Pavilion at Maisonneuve Park / Cardin Ramirez Julien

17:00 - 18 February, 2016
Golf Welcome Pavilion at Maisonneuve Park / Cardin Ramirez Julien, © Vincent Audy
© Vincent Audy

© Vincent Audy © Vincent Audy © Vincent Audy © Vincent Audy +15

Maison Mentana / EM architecture

13:00 - 15 February, 2016
Maison Mentana / EM architecture, © Adrien Williams
© Adrien Williams

© Adrien Williams © Adrien Williams © Adrien Williams © Adrien Williams +17

  • Architects

  • Location

    Montreal, QC, Canada
  • Collaborator

    Point Carré Entrepreneur général
  • Area

    3100.0 ft2
  • Project Year

    2015
  • Photographs