The project "Lanterne Gilford" is located in Montréal's historic Plateau neighborhood. The proposed building demolishes and rebuilds one of a set of three buildings in a housing coop that was built in 1910. These existing buildings have a uniform architectural language that allows them to be read as a harmonious whole. "Lanterne Gilford's" goal as a project is to reinforce the character of cohesion within the complex while improving the expression of its unity. The lateral façade which was previously finished in plaster (and in the past 2 years has been removed because of the risk of it detaching) will be replaced with the same clay brick that is being used on the main façade. The choice of the brick was made after lots of research into which options would best respect the unity of the existing whole which still imparting a new contemporary materiality.
In the same vein, the height of new building will be three storeys, however, the third storey is treated with a new sensitivity that allows the first two storeys to be read as contiguous with the existing two storey buildings. This allows for the unity of the complex to remain while still adding an extra storey. The third story is set back from the main façade and aligns with the neighbour outside of the coop just next door. Built to be light and airy the design of this addition does not impeach upon the existing architectural language. Covered in white perforate metal it accentuates the detachment from the floors below while maintaining privacy for the residents, controlling heat gain, and allowing views towards mount Royal in the distance. Furthermore, the triangulation of the roof limits the amount of shading that lands on the neighbours behind while also accenting its presence to pedestrians.
Besides considering the neighbouring buildings, the proposition also remains sensitive to the community's life which is characterized by the proximity of the other residences, and their balconies, and private courtyards. The footprint of the proposed constructing is exactly the same as the existing building that was previously on the site. The shared passage that connects Gilford Street to the alley behind is now embellished with a more animated façade. Planters will be installed along the guard rail. This will replace the old parking spot. Slowly, over time, plants will grow up over the guard rail transforming it into a living screen. Likewise, with the goal of improving the communitarian spirit, an exterior semi-private bench is integrated into the low concrete wall which invites residents of the coop to take a seat.
In conclusion, the present proposition takes part in rehabilitating the expression of the coop on Gilford Street through a reinforcement of the unity of its urban language. The heritage of this complex, built in 1910, resides less in its architectural characteristics, but rather in its urban organisation which manifests a spirit and community and living together. The new building seeks to preserve this unity while enhancing its architectural elements.