The Montreal Athletics Association (MAA) sports club is an institution that has survived over a century and has witnessed the evolution of Montreal. Founded in 1881 and rooted in its clubhouse since 1905, it is a symbol of sports activities and acted as a gathering place for the residents of the prestigious Golden Square Mile neighborhood.
In order to maintain the building and continue to offer services to its members, the institution partnered with a developer to bring the club into the 21st century as well as to welcome new residents to the neighborhood. The project consisted in the renovation of the sports club as well as the addition of a 32-storey tower above the existing heritage facades.
The major interior renovations of the 1970s and 1990s removed any remaining trace of its original state so the team came to the decision to preserve two historic facades during construction. The preservation of the north and east historic facades, requiring encroachment on public right-of-way during construction, became one of the major stake of this project, especially during the excavation of 3 new underground parking levels.
The architectural concept therefore adopted a tripartite composition, where one can clearly read the base which was the existing building itself, the body and the crown. The inspiration comes from the period in which the original building was constructed and the tower is designed in a revisited classical style. The brightness of the stone and the precision of its geometrical grid create a balance between history and modernity echoing to what the Golden Square Mile aimed to achieve.
Careful thought was given to its integration in its surrounding context. First, the slim profile of the tower allows it to blend well into its neighborhood and the stone grid as well as the solids and voids created by the loggias bring an interesting texture to the cladding in contrast to the glass towers nearby.
Also, the tower was set back from the existing building facades on all sides to avoid the nave effect, to promote the penetration of light on all sides and above all to minimize the impact of the construction on its neighbors. Particular attention was given to the perception of the tower from the pedestrian scale.
The result is that the pedestrian’s perspective of the historic facades has not changed and the original streetscape and view of the sports club is maintained.
Inspired by the materials found on site or throughout the Golden Square Mile but also by the elements of the original building, red brick, grey Stanstead stone, black metal for windows and champagne colored metal accents have been integrated into the language of the new tower, continuing the richness and classic elegance of the historic building.
In order to integrate the original MAA clubhouse into the project, a silence was created at the junction of roof level of the original building with the new tower with a fully-glazed storey, highlighting the volume of the existing building. This technique was used to celebrate the space between the old and the new, to highlight the evolution of the MAA but acts also as a marquise.
The MAA project can be considered a mixed-use project in that it superimposes two very different yet complimentary uses, each bringing their own distinctive needs and requirements that needed to be seamlessly integrated. Structure : ELEMA experts-conseilsM&E : Dupras Ledoux Inc. Civil : Marchand Houle et associésUrban Planner : Fahey et associésInterior design of the residential tower units and common areas by BlazysGérard Interior design and branding of the MAA Sports Club by LEMAYMICHAUD Architecture Design and Yvan CôtéDeveloper : Devimco ImmobilierBuilder : Edyfic Construction.