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Architecture, Montréal

Montréal , Québec
Canada's insider take:

Some of the world's leading architects have left their mark on Montréal. Expo 67 brought Buckminster Fuller's geodesic dome on St. Helen's Island, as well as the hive of cube-shaped dwellings known as Habitat 67 (2600 Pierre-Dupuy Ave.; 514-866-5971; The four International-style buildings in Mies van der Rohe's Westmount Square, dating from 1968, are covered in a grid of windows and raised on black columns, not unlike Mies's Seagram building in New York City (1 Westmount Square). Architecture buffs can also trek to Nun's Island, just south of downtown, to see a couple of simple, geometric-grid high-rises (100 and 200 Gaspé St.) and an Esso gas station also designed by Mies.

A bit less esoteric is the Canadian Centre for Architecture. Quality, not quantity, is the motto for this restrained downtown venue. Exhibits range from architectural models to meditations on a theme using objects, images, videos, or music: A show in 2003 explored lifestyle and design in India by displaying televisions blaring Bollywood music videos; another on architectural periodicals (on view through September 2007) encompasses 70 different magazines from the 1960s and '70s. You can breeze through the exhibitions in minutes or pore over them for hours. Roundtable discussions and film screenings are often held in tandem with exhibitions. The CCA's Mellon Lecture series can be fascinating or fatiguing, depending on the speaker (1920 Baile St.; 515-939-7026;; closed Mon. and Tues., free on Thurs. evenings).

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