The building is located on an exceptional site in the heart of Montréal's Quartier des spectacles, one of North America’s favourite festival destinations. Its two volumes are positioned on either side of an immense oblique fault line. Its distinguishing feature is the large-scaled, bright red facets and folds of its atrium space which runs diagonally to the urban grid. The full-height atrium allows light to penetrate deep into the building's interior and illuminates the walkways bridging the two volumes.
Because of its pivotal role and location, the building had the onus of becoming a visual beacon and architectural reference. It was fitting to design a building that would become the gateway connecting the city's downtown core and the Quartier des spectacles, facilitating pedestrian circulation and access to the latter. Design considerations involved that the building be solidly anchored to the city and its urban fabric while strengthening social and cultural considerations. The colour, chosen as an echo of the cultural branding materials of the Quartier des Spectacles, serves to distinguish Îlot Balmoral.
The eco-responsible project aims to obtain a LEED® Canada-NC Gold certification. It was designed according to the principles of sustainable development, with a marked awareness of energy savings and air quality. The building provides an abundance of controlled natural light on all floors, from the facades of its architecture to the heart of the building. With its glazed envelope and opaque ceramic glass atrium, solar heat and cooling temperatures are compensated. In addition to providing an accessible green roof, its total energy consumption is reduced through the integration of electrical and mechanical systems that include advanced energy management and recovery systems. These integrated mechanical systems ensure optimal control of air quality. Equipment, materials, finishes and furniture with low VOC content as well as LED lighting are used throughout the building.
GUIDING ARCHITECTURAL PRINCIPLES
Identity: Its strong architectural identity is based on the simple alignment of its perimeter envelope and the contrasting complexity of its diagonal atrium space. With its bright red hue referring to the heritage and lighting plan of the Quartier des spectacles, its articulated geometry of folds and facets offers visual patterns in addition to references to the world of theater. Composed of a white fritted glass curtain wall, it provides an urban-scaled canvas for cinematographic projections during events.
Transparency: To add airiness, permeability and transparency to the ground floor spaces, an ultra-clear glazed curtain wall envelope is deployed on three facades. Maximum transparency across the site offered at grade by raising the height of the ground-floor lobby to 12 m.
Permeability: Public access and circulation through the building’s ground floor are encouraged by a pedestrian pathway and atrium space running diagonally across the site.
Sensitivity: Through its volume and massing, the building aims at minimizing unfavourable visual, solar and wind impacts on its neighbouring buildings and urban spaces.
Light: The project aims at offering maximum controlled daylight to its occupants on all floor areas, including spaces at the core of the building, supporting user well-being.