In the summer of 2016, La Maison de l’architecture du Québec (MAQ) commissioned six landscape/architect/artist teams to create an installation that considers ways to improve the experience of Québec’s Autoroutes for the exhibit S.O.S. Paysages Autoroutiers. Together with Poet Ronna Bloom, PLANT explored Highway 10, the highway to the Eastern Townships and the Appalachian Mountains. No. 10 is the highway that passes by and between a set of mountains – not a chain like the Appalachians or the Laurentians, but a sequence – each a singular and bold eruption from the St. Lawrence lowland plain, a totemic icon: mountain, space, mountain, space…. No. 10 follows the route of eight of the nine Montérégian mountains – Mount Royal, Mount St. Bruno, Mont St. Hilaire, Mont St. Grégoire, Mont Rougemont, Mont Yamaska, Mont Shefford, and Mont Brome – each linked by heat on the Great Meteor Hotspot Track. Each of these mountains follow the same fault line, each were created by magma pushing up to create an almost-volcano. At 120 km/h the mountains present themselves in three- to thirty-second glimpses like ships on the vast horizon of the plain.

View of highway with poem text
View of highway with poem text
View of sign with ordered letters (photo: Chris Pommer/PLANT, Marie-France Daigneault Bouchard/MAQ)
View of a mountain identification sign – resolved
View of sign with jumbled letters (photo: Chris Pommer/PLANT, Marie-France Daigneault Bouchard/MAQ)
View of a mountain identification sign – approach

Blink, and you miss it brings the driver and passengers’ attention to this fleeting sequence of mountains, both factual and poetic, at high speed and at rest, with three distinct interventions shaped by speed: Mountain identifiers that require high speed to decode; an Ode to the mountains 140 km long (There are mountains; there is a sequence going eastbound and Il y a des montagnes, il y a une sequence going westbound) is embedded in the roadbed and rendered as an anomorphic illusion at high speed; and focussed mountain lookouts for moments of rest.

The full text of Ronna’s poems can be read here.

aView of bench with mountain in the distance (photo: Chris Pommer/PLANT, Marie-France Daigneault Bouchard/MAQ)
View of the mountain from the viewing bench
exhibition view (photo: Chris Pommer/PLANT, Marie-France Daigneault Bouchard/MAQ)
View of the installation at MAQ
autoroutes-opening-night-crowd2-6 (photo: Chris Pommer/PLANT, Marie-France Daigneault Bouchard/MAQ)
Discussion of the 3D model
View of the opening from the street (photo: Chris Pommer/PLANT, Marie-France Daigneault Bouchard/MAQ)
View of the installation from Rue Saint-Antoine

project index

  1. A Conversation of Views
  2. Admiral Road Garden
  3. Airdrie Road Residence
  4. Albany Avenue Residence
  5. Aporia Records
  6. Asphalt Poetry
  7. – Poem
  8. Baby Point Gardens
  9. Beach Village BIA Master Plan
  10. Beaty Residence
  11. Bennington Heights Garden
  12. Berkeley Street Residence
  13. Bin-Scarth Garden
  14. Blink and you miss it.
  15. – Poem
  16. Blue Note
  17. Booth Avenue Residence
  18. Boustrophedon Garden
  19. Braemore Gardens Residence
  20. Browning Avenue Residence
  21. Brunswick Avenue Residence
  22. Camp Arowhon Offices
  23. Canadian Firefighters Memorial
  24. Channelled Buried Moved Lost
  25. Chocolate Loft
  26. City Instrument
  27. Clarendon Garden
  28. Conversation Piece
  29. Creemore Farm
  30. Danforth Mosaic BIA Master Plan
  31. Dickson Park Garden
  32. Dilworth Residence
  33. Don Landing Revitalization
  34. Dublin Grounds of Remembrance
  35. Dundas Roncesvalles Peace Garden
  36. Dupont-by-the-Castle BIA
  37. East Point Bird Sanctuary
  38. Elizabeth Fry Society
  39. Ellsworth Residence
  40. Face to Face | Tête à Tête
  41. First Avenue Garden
  42. Foote’s Pond Wood
  43. Forest Hill Village Streetscape
  44. Gaze, Glimpse, Glance
  45. Goldring Landscape
  46. Gormley Garden
  47. Greener P
  48. Greer Road Garden
  49. Greer Road Residence
  50. Guelph Bridge
  51. Head in the Clouds
  52. Junction Craft Brewery
  53. Kelpies Competition
  54. Kew Gardens Streetscape
  55. Le jardin du repos
  56. Lenticular Curtain
  57. Liza’s Garden
  58. Lynwood Garden
  59. Macroscape
  60. Markham Garden One
  61. Markham Street Residence Two
  62. Midtown Yonge Streetscape
  63. Nathan Phillips Square
  64. – Streetscape
  65. – Peace Garden
  66. – Podium Roof Garden
  67. Orchard View Garden
  68. Osgoode Atkinson Green Competition
  69. Owl Cottage
  70. Paperstone Scissors
  71. Peripheral Sitings
  72. Pottery Road Crossing
  73. rare
  74. Ravine Forecourt
  75. Ribbon of the Lower Don
  76. Riverside BIA Master Plan
  77. Roxborough Garden One
  78. Roxborough Garden Two
  79. Sheridan College
  80. – Trafalgar Campus Master Plan
  81. Spadina Quay Wetland
  82. Stratford Market Square Competition
  83. Stratford Patterson Theatre Competition
  84. Superlegible
  85. Sweet Farm
  86. Sweet Farm Pond House
  87. The Meadows Reconsidered
  88. The Red Sash
  89. Thick & Thin
  90. Tipping Point
  91. Tranby Garden
  92. Tree House Residence
  93. UTM Welcome Landscape
  94. Venice Biennale 2012
  95. Vermont Square Park
  96. Vernon Avenue Garden
  97. Walmer Road Residence
  98. Wellesley Cottages Garden
  99. Wells Street Residence
  100. Westminster Residence
  101. With Words as Their Actions
  102. Woodlawn Avenue Residence
  103. Woven Stories
  104. York Park