A “glass palace” once again, Quebec City’s former Pavillon du Commerce—first erected in 1923—returns to its former glory as the Canadian city’s new public food market. The locale once hosted agricultural fairs intended to educate and promote the best farming practices. It will now help support the region’s thriving agro-food sector and foster a growing culinary scene. Helmed by the ExpoCité initiative and Coopérative des Horticulteurs de Québec (CHQ) government agency, the recently completed Grand Marché hall is part of a larger urban renewal project slated to revive the Port of Quebec district.
The adaptive reuse project, developed by local architecture firms Bisson associé and Atelier Pierre Thibault, accentuates the existing historic structure but introducing a village-like scheme. Inside the massive framework, rows of double-height, wooden-clad, vendor-occupied buildings-within-a-building help create an interior streetscape. This European-style ‘city grid’ concentrates on a central square. situated at this locus-point, the production kitchens, incubator and Tablée des Chefs, with windows on all sides, create a focal point of activity at the heart of the main public square and its bleachers. Additional stalls are positioned along Grand Marché’s sun-drenched south facade; creating a direct link a weekly outdoor farmers’ market.
New technology is integral to the overall project. Along with 15 fully-equipped commercial kitchens, the entire facility is connected to a Solucycle food waste management system that sends organic refuse to Quebec City’s central biomethanation plant. the Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods (INAF) will introduce a scientific component with the installation of an aquaponics system within the market itself that will be used for training and research purposes for the general public. Outdoor and interior gardens reflect the surrounding boreal region’s northern climate.