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Campus1 MTL

A deeply set seating niche at the entrance with a bold graphic

Campus1 MTL has opened directly across from McGill University in Montréal. With architecture and interior design by Diamond Schmitt Architects, and environmental graphics designed by Entro, the former hotel has been transformed to support a state-of-the-art student residence and learning environments with a range of amenities and fully furnished suites. It is the latest project developed by Knightstone Capital Management for the fast-growing sector of privately run student living on campuses across Canada.

Campus1 MTL has given new life to a building that was once an antiquated and fading hotel. Stripped down and restored as a purpose-built student residence, “the adaptive re-use of this 19-storey concrete structure is designed for a sense of community and social engagement,” said Gary Watson, project architect and senior associate with Diamond Schmitt Architects.

The “mountain” gathering space beneath a cloud of curved linear pendant lights

The spacious and secure entry features a comfortable seating niche defined by bold colour patterns and a strong linear ceiling treatment that draws students into the lobby. “We developed an abstract motif with energetic colours, patterns and shapes that was inspired by Montreal’s nightlife and cultural scene,” says Rae Lam, partner at Entro. “We wanted the environmental graphics to capture the youthful energy of this city – how dynamic it is, how it moves – and how we could fill this space with that energy.” Two main routes provide opportunities for encounter among students with casual “touch down” areas interspersed with active space and study areas.

Campus1 MTL’s playful design animates the physical space and activates student interaction. Anchoring the central lobby is a multi-tiered millwork ‘mountain’ that pulls the ground floor together and draws inspiration from Montréal’s Mount Royal. Student services are located at the crossroads between the main circulation and elevator banks, further promoting student connection. The dining hall is positioned at the rear, drawing students from the entrance, lounges and elevators.

The adjacent games room

“In this way, the design integrates programmed and unprogrammed space, which allows students to make the residence their own,” said Bryan Chartier, Director of Interior Design at Diamond Schmitt. In addition to a collaborative media module, study room and classroom, the main floor also has a café and games room. Recreational amenities on the second floor include a basketball court, weight and cardio room, and yoga studio.

Each floor is marked with bold graphics at the elevator banks and has a variety of bedroom configurations. Common-use amenities differ from floor to floor to encourage inter-floor socialization and consist of study rooms, movie theatres, games lounges, meditation rooms, a LEGO-inspired room and penthouse “SkyLounge” that provides views of the iconic Mount Royal.

The lounge features communal picnic tables and alcove cabins

“As workplace environments become more like university campuses and universities become more like workplace environments, student housing can play a big role in preparing students with the tools and environments they need to prepare them for ‘real world’ conditions,” added Chartier.

Recreational facilities on the second floor feature a basketball court and exercise room

Photography by James Brittain Photography

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