Text description provided by the architects. The First Nations Garden is a permanent commemoration of the Great Peace of Montreal of 1701. It is a crossroads of cultures, designed to help visitors discover the culture of the first inhabitants of North America.
It also offers an opportunity for the First Nations to share their traditions, wisdom and knowledge.
The pavilion is a museum within the garden. Sheltering less than 2% of the garden grounds, the pavilion is mostly outdoor space. Built along the garden's main pathway, the pavilion metaphorically raises the path to reveal the cultural memory of the place. The undulating roof recalls a wisp of smoke through the trees. Outdoor displays sheltered by the roof are framed by two indoor spaces at opposite ends of the pavilion - exhibition and orientation spaces at one end, public washrooms and a meeting space at the other. The pavilion also houses a boutique and offices.
The relationship between building and site, and the environmental sensitivity needed to maintain the spirit of the garden, was critical to the design of the pavilion.
The new building acts as both a filter and a link between two garden environments: an area of spruces and a maple forest. Wherever possible, the pavilion's exhibition was planned outdoors. These exterior spaces orient the visitor and help to reduce the apparent size of the building by integrating the exhibition with the wider environment.
Vertical surfaces are minimized so as to limit the visual impact of the building on the environment, and half of the built spaces are located underground to further reduce the influence of the new building on the existing setting. The new building was sited to retain all existing trees and maintain a relatively open terrain in an attempt to integrate the building and the site.