The SALA community joins many Canadians, academic, and professional colleagues in remembering Claude Cormier who passed away Friday, September 15 at 63 years of age. Claude is best known for the extraordinary, playful public space and urban design work of his Montréal landscape architecture practice CCxA — a body of work that includes distinctive projects at Place d’Youville and Dorchester Square, the Pink Balls and 18 Shades of Gay, Clock Tower Beach, the Ring at Place Ville-Marie, HtO Urban Beach, Sugar Beach, Berczy Park, and Love Park.

Claude generously engaged with SALA as a member of the selection committee for the 2021 Margolese Design for Living Prize, and as subject of the 2021 book Serious Fun: The Landscapes of Claude Cormier by SALA faculty member Susan Herrington and University of California Berkeley emeritus faculty member Marc Treib.

2021 Margolese Design for Living Prize winner Nina-Marie Lister remembers Claude as one who “leaves us with a brilliant legacy of landscape that engages audacity, creativity, and flourishing in pursuit of public joy. He specialized in making wonder at the elusive intersection of art and science, where great design is born. Above all, he lived a life of work and play through which he lead with landscapes —always characterized and now immortalized by “serious fun”.  We are lucky to have shared his sunbeam though for too brief a time.”

“Bold and determined, Claude Cormier was unique in Canadian landscape architecture,” shares Susan Herrington. “Claude was ‘the people’s’ landscape architect. His leadership at CCA (now CCxA) underscored the capacity of landscapes to bring joy and humour to people’s daily lives. He taught us that urban landscapes can be more than just a respite from the city, but also a place to experience beauty and to connect with others. Claude designed numerous landscapes in the public realm, a setting that is often risk averse and politically charged, and seldom fun. Yet, with his playful tactics of persuasion and daring ideas, Claude brought the people he was working with onto his side, and visionary landscapes resulted. Claude Cormier left us too soon. His legacy and spirit will always shine brightly in our hearts.”

“Claude Cormier had the ability to package substance in an attractive (in a literal reading of the word) form, conceiving and making landscapes that first engage with novelty (and at times humor), while truly rooted in sound ecological and social practice,” recalls Marc Treib. “The approach and form vary with the specifics of the individual project of course, but all of CCxA’s projects have been rooted in substance, further shaped by a deep understanding of what makes a landscape socially viable.”

SALA will miss Claude Cormier and our thoughts and condolences are with Claude’s family, friends and colleagues. His infectious energy and creativity will live on in the legacy he has left for the next generation of designers.  

A dinner in celebration of the launch of ‘Serious Fun’ with the subject of the book, Claude Cormier, in October 2021.