"Mise en Essence"

The process leading to the protection of the Nun’s Island Esso Station and to its transformation into an inter-generational centre necessarily required a public consultation. Presented at the March 2009 meeting, the memoir “Mise en essence” deals with the evolution of the types of housing and of town planning that have marked the different phases of land occupation in the city of Verdun.

This process started circa 1900 with the expansion of the Pointe Saint-Charles district to the west and beyond the territorial division of the aqueduct’s Canal. The development continued from 1910 to 1930 with the densification of the built environment, but was twinned to an important riverside park that was meant to compensate for the lack of green and public spaces in the inhabited zones.

Afterwards, from 1945 to 1950, Verdun’s last territories were developed according to a modest model of garden city, again increasing the importance of the green space components. This model is a prelude to the even more luxuriant and nature-oriented development of Nun’s Island, at whose entrance is located the gas station designed by Mies Van Der Rohe.

The document shows that the development of Nun’s Island was accomplished as a logical extension of that continual urban planning process. The photos and graphics also demonstrate that the architectural philosophy of the station is in direct relationship with the major buildings and the housing complexes imagined by Mies Van Der Rohe.