What to do about Olympic Stadium’s beleaguered old roof? Ideas are wanted

Click to play video: 'Contest launched for ideas of what to do with Olympic Stadium’s old roof'
Contest launched for ideas of what to do with Olympic Stadium’s old roof
The roof of Montreal's Olympic Stadium is going to be replaced. Now, the fate and future of the old one is in the hands of the public. Global's Brayden Jagger Haines reports on a new contest to repurpose the materials – Apr 17, 2024

Montreal’s Olympic Stadium is getting a new roof and now you could win some serious cash if you have ideas about what to do with the old one.

The Olympic Park has launched a contest for ideas on how to reuse and recycle the materials that make up the dilapidated structure, which has 20,000 holes in it. Design and architectural professionals and students are encouraged to file submissions.

“The competition is open to the international community in order to collect as many optimal suggestions as possible for the environment, the economy and society,” the organization said in a statement issued last Friday.

A jury of experts, including architects, designers and engineers, will choose eight ideas to repurpose the roof. Quebecers will then vote for their favourite proposal.

In February, the province announced the landmark sports complex, which hosted the 1976 Olympics, will be getting a much-needed facelift to the tune of $870 million.

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The current top, made of fibreglass and Teflon, was installed in 1998 and is the stadium’s second roof. The work to replace it is set to last four years and begin this summer.

With the renovation, the Big O will be able to operate year-round and host up to 150 events annually, up from about 30.

The interior of the Olympic Stadium is seen Monday, February 5, 2024 in Montreal. Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press

The old roof is composed of membranes that make up nearly 26 hockey rinks, nearly 12 kilometres of cables and more than 400 steel connectors. All of these materials will be for grabs in the contest.

The goal is to give a “second life” to a slice of Quebec’s history, according to organizers.

There will be four prizes totalling $15,000 for the winners. It will recognize the best proposals in different categories, ranging from space design to full reuse of materials.

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Under the plan, four prizes of $5,000 will also be handed out for student submissions.

Applicants have until the end of May to register for the contest and until June 11 to submit their ideas. Proposals are limited to one per person.

The winners will be announced in the summer and fall.

— with files from The Canadian Press

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