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The Frédéric Back Tree Pavilion Architecture

The Frédéric Back Tree Pavilion, inside view
Photo: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Claude Lafond)

The architectural design is based on an interpretation of the tree shape symbolizing a pillar.

In keeping with the theme of the site, wood in different forms and worked in different ways was used as the basic material.

Local wood, from species found in Quebec and elsewhere in Canada, has pride of place.

White pine, balsam fir, white spruce, sugar maple, yellow birch and Douglas fir were all used in the structure or finish. The supporting beams, large pieces of laminated white spruce, were made especially for the Tree Pavilion.

The arrangement of space and volumes is inspired by three major shapes from the classic garden repertory, i.e. the alley, path and grotto.

The alley

The laminated wood columns supporting the roof of the Tree Pavilion represent the royal alley, lined with straight rows of trees. The alley continues outdoors, onto an observation deck.

The path

The permanent exhibition room is bathed in natural light and looks out onto the Arboretum, its sinuous shape evoking a romantic path on the edge of the forest.

The grotto

The temporary exhibition room, more shadowy and without any windows, is like a mysterious cavern full of treasures waiting to be discovered.


The description of the architecture of the Frédéric Back Tree Pavilion was inspired by an article by Simon Péloquin, published in Quatre-Temps magazine (Vol. 21, No. 2, summer 1997).

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