RESEARCH AXIS and Research Aims 2016-2020

(Fonds de Recherche Québec Société et Culture : subvention d’infrastructure équipe)


Reflecting the maturation of our common reflection, the axes have been rethought on the basis of interdisciplinary problems, in order to allow cross-fertilization, to diversify and highlight the complex nature of the fields studied, to stimulate consultation between researchers and to facilitate the integration of doctoral students. In 2015-2016, a reformulation encouraged the sharing of expertise in a phase of inter-university expansion, henceforth involving the four Montreal universities. In the prism of “cultural devices“, it restructures the theoretical, historical and pragmatic study of the project in its relations with contemporary environments and what we designate by the 4 critical interfaces of the project: 1 – creation, 2 – quality, 3 – sustainability, and 4 – urbanity.

Our corpuses concern urban, architectural and landscape scales in 3 project situations (professional, pedagogical, research creation), and the new complementarity of our methodologies confronts the complexity of the contemporary project by combining: history with theory, theory To analysis, criticism to research creation.

4 axes constitute our new programming:

  • Axis 1: Creation in architecture between theoretical and practical discourses of the project:
  • Axis 2: Thinking about the qualities of the architectural project in the filter of competitions and awards of excellence
  • Axis 3: New trajectories for sustainable design between norms, legitimations and resistance in North America
  • Axis 4 (transversal): Public Architecture and Urban Culture in Québec:

Theme 2016-2020: “The architecture project as a cultural device with critical interfaces of creation, quality, sustainability and urbanity”.

Axis 1: Creation in architecture between theoretical and practical discourses of the project:

Axis 1 Brings together epistemological research addressing, or deepening, questions as current as: the definition and place of research creation in architecture, theorization of criticism and judgment, or the semantics of construction and Territory of the works of Pierre Boudon (2013). Through this categorization of critical practices in architecture, we will examine the mutations of the project in an enlarged disciplinary field (Girard, 1986).

  • Research-creation (research by design) has become a critical theme in university research (Pinson 2009, Chapman and Sawchuk, 2012, Stevance and Lacasse 2013). In this debate, architecture remains confused with professional practice (Theodore 2009). In the form of a “compass of theories”, one of our hypotheses targets both proactive and retroactive knowledge production (Chupin, 2014): a spectrum of research by the project constituting the area of knowledge that is elaborated by Design and analogy (Design thinking) (Coster 1978, Lichnerowickz et al., 1981, Rowe 1988). David Theodore, a new member of the team, is preparing a collective application with Jean-Pierre Chupin and Carmela Cucuzzella for 2016, to help define research creation in architecture.
  • In collaboration with Nicholas Roquet and Denis Bilodeau Carmela Cucuzzella, works on the synthesis of research on architectural criticism for a joint publication to be published in 2017. The diffusion of video recordings following the LEAP colloquium (ACFAS 2014) Uploaded in the fall of 2015.
  • While taking care to distinguish the usages of the competitions, theories on the competitions, we will mobilize situations of competition of ideas, sometimes as modes of creation, sometimes as objects of study (Martin, 2012). In this context, a prospective research project led by Anne Cormier on “2084 – better live and long” (axes 1 and 2), or that coordinated by Carmela Cucuzzella and Cynthia Hammond on “light urban installations” (Axes 4 and 1), will put in place competition situations and theoretical projects which will then be the subject of observations: by a- for the theorizing efforts of research creation in architecture (axis 1) or b- For reflections on the problematic of criticism in architecture. 

Axis 2: Theorizing the qualities of the architectural project in the filter of competitions and awards of excellence

What is the role of competitions and awards in improving architectural and urban quality? Benefiting from the infrastructure funded by the CFI and chaired by the Research Chair on Competitions, this axis examines the determinants of quality at the crossroads of qualitative judgment practices and experimentation in competitions and prizes of excellence (Basin 1984, Lipstadt 1989, Tostrup 1999, Chupin et al., 2015). In epistemic vehicles that allow for the observation of contemporary issues, architectural competitions are compared with those of other domains to illuminate the transformations of society and culture (Bilodeau et al., 2006).

  • Conducted by Jean-Pierre Chupin with Carmela Cucuzzella, David Theodore and Georges Adamczyk, new research (SSHRC Knowledge) on awards (excellence, Governor, etc.) will contribute to the theorization of new “representations of excellence “In architecture. Comparisons between competition results and price recognition will be made later on different Canadian corpus. In return, and in order to question these decision-making devices, analyzes of outstanding examples will be disseminated on the CCC, in order to probe the “public prices” in open sourcing or crowdsourcing activities.
  • From the point of view of research creation itself, a project entitled “2084 – better live and long”, led by Anne Cormier and researchers from 3 universities represented at LEAP, will be a follow-up to a pilot project Funded between 2005 and 2008 by SSHRC. Entitled “Social Housing as a Space for Creation, Innovation and Criticism in Canadian City Centers,” this project was based on 2 student competitions across Canada. This time, it is a “projection by competition” exercise to imagine places of life for seniors. This subject is already the subject of important research, some of which are funded by SSHRC. The L.E.A.P project will address the problem of aging in terms of the architectural project. 

Axis 3: New trajectories for sustainable design between norms, legitimations and resistance in North America

This research axis is focused on studying the components of sustainability (social, environmental, economic, and cultural) and how they interact within the architecture project (Fisher 2008, Guattari 2008). The divide between cultural aspirations and the optimization of environmental and material exchanges guiding the implementation of projects is more important than ever and has barely improved since the 1970s debates. The reasons are numerous and remain ambiguous, whether they are technical, structural, material, formal or compositional. In addition, the rise of efficient technologies in the 1980s and 1990s (Orr, 2002; Parsons, 1995; Papanek, 2000, Guy and Farmer, 2001, Guy and Moore, 2007), had the effect of relegating cultural dimensions, thus widening the gap between forms and meanings, ethics and aesthetics (Thorpe, 2007; Fry, 2009). How can the principles, theories, and practices of a new architectural and urban ecology enrich – and in some cases impoverish – the visual and textual rhetoric and procedures of Canadian projects? Especially when new reflections are of an ecological order (Picon 2010, Whiteside 2006, Mongin 2007, Weintraub 2012)? The objective of this research axis does seek to call into question these new reflections, but tries to understand its impact on the quality of public places: can we merge architectural expression and environmental performance? The L.E.A.P program will now benefit from support for the new Concordia University Chair (Integrated Design, Ecology and Sustainability for the Built Environment), led by Carmela Cucuzzella. This axis will implement traditional methods, research creation as well as “living laboratories”. 3 projects constitute the framework of activities, inviting new collaborations between universities:

  • Ecology as a “symbolic form” in competitions for public spaces (Cassirer 1955, Kohler 2003, Psarra 2009, Baird 2010, Hart 2011, Muller 2014). This research relies on a SSHRC (Insight Development) grant obtained in 2015 by C. Cucuzzella.
  • The “Rust” project, co-ordinated by the new L.E.A.P researcher, Cynthia Hammond, in collaboration with Carmela Cucuzzella and Jean-Pierre Chupin, anticipates a partnership amongst architects, historians, artists, curators and community organisms. It is directed to post-industrial ecologies (High and Lewis 2007, Hamnett 2007, McMinn and Polo 2005, Saint-Laurent 2000), exploring the role of artistic interventions in an environmental framework. (Hammond 2012, Evans 2009, Edensor 2005). It will form a North American network with collaborations in Montreal, Windsor, Detroit, and Sudbury (Cucuzzella and Chupin 2013).
  • Denis Bilodeau heads the second part of this research project, “New Cultural Territories in Quebec”. He is covering the period between 1995-2005 regarding the passage from territory to environment in cultural competitions, giving rise to an exhibition and publication widely distributed. It will be extended over 2005 to 2015 by involving other LEAP researchers (Bilodeau et al., 2006).

Axis 4 (transversal): Public Architecture and Urban Culture in Québec:

Research on Canadian competitions and competitions in Quebec undertaken by L.E.A.P. have shown that, beyond stylistic taste, the identity stakes of the formal and constructive expressions of public architecture are generally linked to the territorial inscription and to the taking into account of the pre-existing built context. We propose to explore the new horizon of public architecture and its potential, real as well as utopian, according to 4 directions of research examining, during and after the Quiet Revolution, the emergence of new programs (social dwellings, colleges, houses Culture, theatres, etc.) or even the disappearance of common places (neighborhood banks, post offices, churches, etc.:

  • Louis Martin and Georges Adamczyk (with Réjean Legault, Design, UQAM) are already working on a critical monograph on PGL architects (Papineau Gérin-Lajoie Leblanc). An exhibition will take place in the fall of 2015 (UQAM). The PGL agency marked the landscape of Québec: the Pavillon du Québec, the Mirabel terminal, the Papineau house and the Peel metro station, competing with the best achievements of the International Style (Ragon 1986, Vanlaethem 1992). Responding mainly to public orders, these architects carried out research on equipment needed to build modernity in Quebec (student residences, schools, university pavilions, metro stations, terminals), and the new types of buildings that are currently being developed Quiet Revolution (eg Youth Cities in Vaudreuil and Hull).
  • The research project “Théâtre et Utopie”, directed by Nicholas Roquet, will design an exhibition on the architecture of the theatre as a “paper project”. Since the beginning of the 20th century, the “ideal theatre” has been a place of exploration of the prospective potential of architecture including new forms of sociability or political organization. The European pan of this story was told by the exhibition Theatres in utopia (France, 2013 to 2015) of researchers Yann Rocher and Xavier Dousson. In an international collaboration, L.E.A.P will amplify the initial research by adding a section examining the potential projects of Quebec and Canadian architects.
  • David Theodore’s research on urban public spaces will build on the FCI (“New Approaches to Digital Research in Architecture History”), co-directed with Ipek Türeli at McGill University. The centre will be open in the fall of 2016 and will allow David to leverage his expertise in networking technologies at institutions (university hospitals and prisons in Canada). This infrastructure will provide new opportunities for cross-fertilization with the L.E.A.P team, particularly in terms of student training. This will include the use of digital humanities techniques to study the architecture of schools and Cégep in collaboration with Anne Cormier.

This 4th axis, of a transversal nature, will include a research project created, led by Carmela Cucuzzella with several members of the team to design “urban public art facilities understood as vehicles and vectors of a sustainable future”. As a collective project and a living laboratory, it will synthesize design practices and their impact on the value systems of the urban communities concerned. A Canadian and international partnership is currently being explored with researchers from McGill and Concordia Universities to identify a spectrum of opportunities from urban design to citizenship in the 21st century.

Bibliographical references specific to the Theme 2016-2020 of L.E.A.P:

The architectural project as a cultural device with critical interfaces of creation, quality, urbanity and sustainability

  • Axis 1: Creation in architecture between theoretical and practical discourses of the project:

Boudon, P., L’architecture des lieux : Sémantique de l’édification et du territoire, Infolio, Gollion, 2013.
Chapman O. and Sawchuk K., “Research-Creation: Intervention, Analysis and “Family Resemblances” in Canadian Journal of Communications 37 (2012): 5-26. 2012
Chupin J.-P., « Dans l’univers des thèses, un compas théorique » in Les Cahiers de la recherche architecturale et urbaine n 30/31 (Trajectoires doctorales 2), Paris, 2014. pp. 23-40.
Coster, M., L’analogie en sciences humaines. Presses Universitaires de France, Paris, 1978.
Girard, C., Architecture et concepts nomades : traité d’indiscipline, Mardaga, Bruxelles, 1986.
Lichnerowicz, A., Perroux, F., Gadoffre, G., (sous la direction de), Analogie et connaissance (tome 1 – Aspects historiques, tome 2 – De la poésie à la science). Maloine, Paris, 1980 – 1981.
Martin, L. , « Penser l’architecture et son histoire » dans Pratique de l’histoire de l’art à l’UQAM, édité par St-Gelais T. Département d’histoire de l’art, UQAM, Montréal, 2012, pp. 104-112.
Pinson, J.P., « La recherche-création dans le milieu universitaire : le cas des interprètes et de l’interprétation », Les Cahiers de la société québécoise de recherche en musique, vol. 10, n 2, septembre 2009, pp. 9-14.
Stevance, S. et Lacasse, S., Les enjeux de la recherche-création en musique (Institution, définition, formation), Presses de l’Université Laval, Québec, 2013.
Theodore, D. “The Emerging Designer,” introductory essay, catalogue for the exhibition Twenty + Change 2009, Toronto, 2009.

  • Axis 2: Theorizing the qualities of the architectural project in the filter of competitions and awards of excellence

Basin, J., Architectural Competitions in nineteenth-century England. UMI Research Press, Ann Arbor, 1984.
Bilodeau, D., et al., Concours d’architecture et imaginaire territorial : les projets culturels au Québec 1991-2005, LEAP et Centre design UQAM, Montréal, 2006.
Chupin J.P., Cucuzzella, C., Helal, B., Architecture Competitions and the Production of Culture, Quality and Knowledge (An International Inquiry), Potential Architecture Books, Montréal, 2015.
Collins, P., Architectural Judgement. McGill Queen’s University Press, Montreal. 1971.
Miller, R., « The Competition Process ». In Arnell, P., & T. Bickford (Eds). A center for the visual arts: The Ohio State University competition (pp. 21-23). Rizzoli, NewYork, 1984.
Ollswang, J. E., Successful Competitions: Planning for quality, equity and useful results, Journal of Architectural and Planning Research, 7, 105-113,1990.
Tostrup, E., Architecture and Rhetoric; Text and Design in  Architectural Competitions Oslo 1939-1997, Andreas Papadakis Publisher, London, 1999.

  • Axis 3: New trajectories for sustainable design between norms, legitimations and resistance in North America

Baird, G., Sustainable Buildings in Practice: What the Users Think, Routledge, 2010
Bilodeau, D., et al., Concours d’architecture et imaginaire territorial : les projets culturels au Québec 1991-2005, LEAP et Centre design UQAM, Montréal, 2006.
Cassirer, E., Philosophy of Symbolic Forms: Volumes 1, 2, 3, Language, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1955.
Cucuzzella, C. & Chupin, J.-P., « The ‘global warming’ of the judgment process in competitions for     public buildings in Canada ». The International Journal of Sustainability Policy and Practice, 8, 53-67. 2013.
Edensor, T., “The Contemporary Uses of Industrial Ruins.” In Industrial Ruins: Space, Aesthetics and Materiality. Berg, New York, Oxford, 2005. 21-52.
Evans, S., “There’s No Place Like Hallwalls: Alternative-space Installations in an Artists’ Community.” Oxford Art Journal 32.1 (2009): 95-119.
Fisher, T., Architectural Design and Ethics: Tools for Survival. Architectural Press, Elsevier, 2008.
Fry, T., Design Futuring: Sustainability. Ethics and New Practice, New York, BERG Publishers, 2009.
Guy, S. & Moore, S A (eds). Sustainable Architectures: Cultures and Natures in Europe and North          America, Taylor & Francis, Londres (2005)
Guy, S. & Farmer, G., « Reinterpreting Sustainable Architecture: The Place of Technology ». Journal of Architectural Education, 54, pp. 140-148. 2001.
Hart, S., Eco-Architecture: The Work of Ken Yeang, John Wiley & Sons Inc, New York, 2011.
Hammond, C., Architects, Angels, Activists and the City of Bath, 1765-1965: Engaging
with Women’s Spatial Interventions in Buildings and Landscape. Ashgate, Burlington, 2012.
Hamnett, C., “Gentrification, Postindustrialism, and Industrial and Occupational Restructuring in Global             Cities.” In A Companion to the City. Bridge G. and Watson S., eds. Blackwell, Oxford, 2007.    331-341.
High, S. and D W. Lewis., Corporate Wasteland: The Landscape and Memory of Deindustrialization. Cornell UP, Ithaca and London, 2007.
Kohler, N., « Cultural Issues for a Sustainable Built Environment ». In: Cole,R.J. & Lorch,R. (eds.) Buildings, Culture & Environment: Informing Local & Global Practices. Blackwell, Oxford, 2003.
McMinn, J. & Polo, M. « Sustainable Architecture as a Cultural Project ». The 2005 World Sustainable Building Conference. Tokyo, 2005.
Muller, B., Ecology and the Architectural Imagination, Routledge, Londres, 2014.
Orr, D., W., The Nature of Design: Ecology, Culture, and Human Intention, University Press, New York, Oxford, 2002.
Parsons, R., « Conflict between ecological sustainability and environmental aesthetics: Conundrum, canard or curiosity ». Landscape and Urban Planning, 32, 227-244. 1995.
Picon, A., Culture numérique et architecture, Birkhäuser, Basel, 2010.
Psarra, S., Architecture and Narrative: The formation of space and cultural meaning, Routledge, Londres, 2009.
Saint-Laurent, D., « Approches biogéographiques de la nature en ville : Parcs, espaces verts et riches ». Cahiers de Géographie du Québec 44, 122 (septembre 2000): 147-166.
Weintraub, L., To Life! Eco Art in Pursuit of a Sustainable Planet, University of California Press, Oakland, 2012.

  • Axis 4 (transversal): Public Architecture and Urban Culture in Québec:

Boyer, M. C., The City of Collective Memory. MIT Press, Cambridge (Mass.), 1994.
Burman, J., « Cultiver les formes urbaines : investissements collectifs en agriculture urbaine », dans Gérin, A. et al., Formes urbaines : circulation, stockage et transmission de l’expression culturelle à Montréal, Les Éditions Esse, Montréal, 2014.
Lefebvre, H., La production de l’espace. Anthropos, Paris, 1974.
Martin, L.,  « Penser l’architecture et son histoire » dans Pratique de l’histoire de l’art à l’UQAM, édité par St-Gelais T., Montréal, Département d’histoire de l’art, UQAM,  Montréal, 2012, pp. 104-112.
Mitchell, W. J., City of Bits. MIT Press, Cambridge (Mass.), 1995.
Picon, A., La ville, territoire des cyborgs. Éditions de l’Imprimeur, Paris, 1998.
Picon, A., Smart Cities, Théorie et critique d’un idéal auto-réalisateur, Editions B2, Actualités,  2013.
Ragon M., Histoire mondiale de l’architecture et de l’urbanisme modernes (réédition augmentée), Casterman, Paris, 1986. (3 tomes)
Rykwert, J., The Seduction of Place : The History and Future of the City. Random House, New York, 2002.
Sennett, R., The Fall of Public Man. Knopf, Londres, 1978.
Sorkin, M., Variations on a Theme Park: The New American City and the End of Public Space. Hill and Wang, New York, 1992.
Tafuri, M., The Sphere and the Labyrinth : Avant-gardes and Architecture from Piranesi to the 1970s. MIT Press, Cambridge (Mass.), 1987.
Tomas, F., « L’espace public, un concept moribond ou en expansion ? », dans Géocarrefour, vol. 76, no. 1, 2001, pp. 75-84.
Vanlaethem F., « Éditorial », in « Profil : Louis-Joseph Papineau », numéro thématique de la revue ARQ / Architecture Québec, no. 69, octobre 1992, p. 7.
Zukin, S., The Culture of Cities. Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford et Cambridge (Mass.), 1995.


  • 2015 – Carmela Cucuzzela obtient une subvention du programme Savoir du Conseil de Recherche en Sciences Humaines du Canada, pour une recherche intitulée : “Environmentalism as symbolic form in canadian design competitions for cultural public places (2002-2012)” (subvention CRSH 2015-2017)
  • 2015 – Carmela Cucuzzella obtient une Chaire de Recherche de l’Université Concordia : “Chaire Integrated Design, Ecology And Sustainability (IDEAS) for the Built Environment”
  • 2014 – Nicholas Roquet et ses cochercheurs obtiennent une subvention du programme Savoir du Conseil de Recherche en Sciences Humaines du Canada, pour une recherche intitulée “Architecture and the environmental tradition : the atmospheric in British architecture from 1750 to 1850” (Subvention CRSH)
  • 2012 – Jean-Pierre Chupin obtient une subvention du Fonds des Leaders de la FCI pour l’optimisation du Catalogue des Concours Canadiens (Subvention FCI)
  • 2012 – Jean-Pierre Chupin obtient une Chaire de Recherche de l’Université de Montréal : “Chaire de Recherche sur les Concours et les pratiques contemporaines en architecture “
  • 2012 – Cartographie théorique des enjeux et stratégies durables dans les concours canadiens de design pour l’espace public (2003-2011) (Carmela Cucuzzella, Subvention Nouveau chercheur du FQRSC)
  • 2012-2016 – Théories et pratiques contemporaines du projet d’architecture à l’épreuve des nouveaux enjeux de l’environnement bâti  (Subvention de fonctionnement du FQRSC)
  • 2012-2015 – Cartographie théorique des enjeux et stratégies durables dans les concours canadiens de design pour l’espace public (Subvention FQRSC)
  • 2010-2013 – J. Omer Marchand, premier architecte canadien diplômé de l’École des Beaux-Arts de Paris: l’analyse de son oeuvre comme médiation identitaire (Subvention ordinaire de recherche du CRSH)
  • 2009-2012 – Conflit des interprétations analogiques et jugement architectural dans les concours publics canadiens (1984-2004) (Subvention ordinaire de recherche du CRSH)
  • 2009-2012 – Melvin Charney: An Architectural Anthology (Subvention de recherche du PAFARC)
  • 2008-2012 – Théories et pratiques du projet d’architecture contemporain. (Programme de recherche du L.E.A.P). Subvention de fonctionnement du FQRSC.
  • 2007-2012 – Making mega-projects work for communities. (Subvention CURA du CRSH)
  • 2006-2007 – Concours d’architecture et imaginaire territorial: Les projets culturels au Québec, 1991-2005
  • 2005-2007 – Trois contrats de recherche et de consultation avec le GIP EPAU et Europan-France
  • 2005-2008 – Innover et conserver : créer l’architecture contemporaine au risque du patrimoine
  • 2005-2008 – Le logement social comme espace de création, d’innovation et de critique dans les centres-villes canadiens
  • 2004-2008 – Laboratoire d’étude de l’architecture potentielle (Programme de recherche du L.E.A.P). Financement FQRSC
  • 2004-2006 – Concours d’architecture: projets et nouvelles pratiques réflexives au Québec (1983-2003)
  • 2003-2004 – Répertoire annoté des documents relatifs aux concours canadiens d’architecture.
  • 2002-2003 – Evaluation et recensement de la section concours de la bibliothèque du Centre Canadien d’Architecture.
  • 2002-2005 – Concours d’architecture et médiations culturelles au Canada (1980 – 2000): analyse comparative des transferts analogiques et des pratiques réflexives constitutives des projets d’architecture.
  • 2001-2002 – Paranalogia : Un carnet de voyage numérique pour l’interprétation de références visuelles et de précédents architecturaux.