Intended as an icon of the 1976 Summer Olympics, the Tour de Montréal long stood as a textbook white elephant—an expensive-to-maintain structure that served little purpose. Designed to anchor the cables that support the Olympic Stadium’s retractable roof, the tower is the world’s tallest inclined tower and the sixth tallest structure in Montréal. It was not complete in time for the games and was largely abandoned afterwards. More than 200,000 SF of space went vacant for decades.
But, in 2015, Provencher_Roy was commissioned to inject new life to the forgotten landmark, re-envisioning it as a contemporary workplace for 1,500 employees.
Provencher_Roy designed a dramatic intervention at the facade that adapts the building to its new purpose while preserving its heritage. The cost-effective design delivers transformative impact with surgical changes, making a white elephant into a high-performing asset that brought Desjardins Group—a major economic engine—to the city.
The biggest challenge was the lack of natural light. The envelope was primarily precast concrete panels pierced with thin vertical windows. Provencher_Roy stripped 60% of this facade, replacing it with a glass curtain wall. Spandrel glass conceals the structure between floors to make the curtain wall appear seamless while emphasizing the building's expressive taper.
Inside, the renovation adapts the idiosyncratic three-sided floors into contemporary workspaces. The two long facades were glazed to bring in light and open commanding views. The now-exposed splayed columns form an "architectural promenade" filled with informal seating and collaboration tables. Workstations occupy an open plan anchored by central meeting rooms and amenity spaces. Throughout, references—like a faceted lobby ceiling that recalls the original design—honor the tower's history.
The project sustains the tower’s heritage while amplifying its place in Montréal’s cityscape and collective imagination. The once-forgotten tower now stands as a testament to the city’s ingenuity, cultural legacy, and identity.