Canadian Interiors


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Pavillons Lassonde de l’cole polytechnique Montral

Saia Barbarese Topouzanov Architectes; Desnoyers Mercure et Associes; Menkes Shooner Dagenais Letourneux Architectes – all Montreal

The expansion of the School of Engineering at the University of Montreal was a major project covering 350,000 square feet and involving three architectural firms: Saia Barbarese Topouzanov, Desnoyers Mercure et Associes, and Menkes Shooner Dagenais Letourneux.

Focus for the expansion was on the departments of electrical engineering, computer engineering, computer studies and a large library intended to serve the existing facility and future development. Also included were auditoriums, laboratories, an exhibition space, public space, offices, classrooms, reading rooms, a caf and a roof terrace.

The building is located on the university’s campus on the slopes of Mount Royal and is characterized by its dramatic topography and panoramic views. The completed project achieved Gold LEED certification.

DESIGN TEAM: PRINCIPAL ARCHITECT ANDRE MERCURE; LEAD DESIGN ARCHITECT MARIO SAIA; PROJECT ARCHITECT ANNICK SHOONER; AND PRINCIPAL DESIGN ARCHITECTS MARIO SAIA AND VLADIMIR TOPOUZANOV.

Aquilon Capital Corporation, Toronto

Taylor Smyth Architects, Toronto

Aquilon is an old Canadian term for a strong north wind. It was selected as the new name for a boutique investment company that was rebranding its image and moving into larger facilities in downtown Toronto. Taylor Smyth was assigned to design the new space.

The design philosophy juxtaposes the raw and the refined. The basic concrete structure, concrete columns and beams of the building were left exposed, contrasting with a carefully detailed and highly refined material palette of rift cut oak, glass and limestone. Textured plaster walls in red, yellow and pale green, inspired by the shades of autumn, provide colour in key locations.

Workstations, of rift cut oak and glass, were specified from Unifor, as were matching office desks, meeting tables and the boardroom table. The workstations are along perimeter windows, with enclosed offices and meeting areas in the interior, these spaces separated from the ceiling by a continuous band of mullionless clerestory glazing, allowing in natural light.

DESIGN TEAM: PARTNER-IN-CHARGE MICHAEL TAYLOR, PROJECT ARCHITECT AARON FINBOW, CHERIE NG AND MICHAEL LAFRENIERE.

Carrefour Desjardins, Montreal

Menkes Shooner Dagenais Letourneux Architectes, Montreal

The Fdration des Caisses Desjardins du Quebec, essentially a rural institution, had long wanted to establish a financial presence in downtown Montreal’s west end to attract young and multicultural clients. Dominion Square was finally selected as the location for its new Carrefour Desjardins, which is located on the first and second floor of the historic building.

The design by Menkes Shooner Dagenais Letourneux is elegant and dynamic, and relates well to the architectural qualities of the existing 1928 building. Stainless steel, walnut and maple are the main materials.

Although Carrefour Desjardins offers all traditional banking services, it presents itself more as a boutique than a bank. Each office features a round table placed under a suspended lighting fixture, eliminating traditional corporate desks to achieve a closer client relationship.

During construction of the facilities, a waste management program was put in place with both recycled materials and recyclable products used in the design.

DESIGN TEAM: YVES DAGENAIS, CAROLINE ELIAS, BENOIT DUPUIS, MARTIN HOULE, LUC DOUCET, ALAIN BOUDRIAS, AUDREY ARCHAMBAULT, ANNE LAFONTAINE, SYLVAIN GAGNE AND DOMINIC GENEST.

Kultura, Toronto

Core Architects, Toronto

Kultura Social Dining, a new multi-level restaurant housed in a historic building in downtown Toronto, offers levels of sociability. The ground floor features a greeting area and holding bar, the second level houses the main dining room, and the third level offers a private retreat. Core Architects retained the rough-patched walls of the old building to reflect the building’s history; inside this brick shell they installed contrasting elements of modern exposed steel beams and columns. A dramatically lit, glass-enclosed stair connects the three levels, with raw Douglas fir treads framed within steel stringers that relate to the structural system. Leather banquettes and club chairs complement metal finishes and rich wood floors.

DESIGN TEAM: PRINCIPAL-IN-CHARGE CHARLES GANE, INTERIOR DESIGN DIRECTOR BRYAN CHARTIER AND CHEN COHEN.

Featured in Canadian Interiors (January/February 2007)

Cabbagetown Coach House, Toronto

Core Architects, Toronto

Tucked into one of Cabbagetown’s intriguing laneways is a 2,500-square-foot house (once a livery stable), recently reimagined by Core Architects.

The theme is conceal-and-reveal: a veil-like Ipe screen covers the top half of the front of the house; inside, one glimpses a micro courtyard, while the stairway to the upper level is hidden behind an exotic wood feature wall. Voids on the second level allow natural light to flood down to the ground level, contributing to a sense of spaciousness; strategically located windows and knee walls lining the voids control sightlines and preserve the privacy of the second-level suite and roof deck. Unity is achieved through a well-considered orchestration of materials, including maple, stainless steel and matte-finished black slate.

DESIGN TEAM: DENI POLETTI, PRINCIPAL-IN-CHARGE, WITH BRYAN CHARTIER, DIRECTOR OF INTERIOR DESIGN.

Featured in Canadian Interiors (January/February 2007)

Holt Renfrew Flagship Personal Shopping Suites, Toronto

Burdifilek, Toronto

Holt Renfrew’s flagship store on Bloor Street includes a private personal shopping area where clients meet by appointment with a team of stylists who present luxury items for viewing and purchase. Burdifilek created an elegant environment where day and evening lighting and climate can be completely controlled, with music programmed to duplicate any atmosphere. The 3,268-square-foot area includes five private suites, each containing custom wool carpets, lacquer screens and custom furniture. Clients reach the suites down a hallway flanked on one side by a dramatic feature wall with a streamlined geometric steel sculpture backlit behind a plane of opalescent glass.

In the reception area are thousands of stainless steel rods hanging from the ceiling; pure white light and the reflective qualities of the hanging rods create undulating patterns on the floor. Says creative partner Diego Burdi, “Every surface is considered a palette in this design. Scale, proportion and the effects of light on unexpected finishes all come together to create a distinctive enclave within the total store.”

DESIGN TEAM: PARTNERS DIEGO BURDI AND PAUL FILEK, JEREMY MENDONCA, WILLIAM LAU, JACKY NGAN, EDWIN REYES, ANNA JURKIEWICZ, TONY TEY AND TOM YIP.

Charlesbourg Public Library, Quebec City

Croft Pelletier Architectes, Quebec City

The expansion of the Charlesbourg Public Library was an integral part of a general neighbourhood revitalization plan (which included a series of new public spaces) for the Trait-Carr district of Quebec City. Historic aspects of the area were taken into consideration. Most land around the Trait-Carr was traditionally divided into pie-shaped lots, while institutional and public buildings as well as smaller-scaled historic houses were designed with orthogonal layouts, all with lot lines converging toward the church’s steeples.

Croft Pelletier used an orthogonal layout for the library, surrounding it with a landscape that spreads out, folds and rises, and that covers the roof with a field of wild grasses.

Internal spaces of the library, both large and smaller areas, are defined under a lar
ge wood ceiling and by a continuity of materials. These spaces also connect to the landscape outside.

DESIGN TEAM: PRINCIPAL MARIE-CHANTAL CROFT, PRINCIPAL ERIC PELLETIER, ANNIE MARTINEAU, REMI HOVINGTON, JOCELYN MARTEL, GUYLAINE LEHOUX, AND MARIE-CHANTAL PINEAU.

Historic Grist Mill, Ontario

William Bennett Architect, Cambridge; Powell & Bonnell, Toronto

Built in 1857 – but not in operation since 1954 – this property was acquired to serve as an all-season recreational residence. The exterior was not to be disturbed, and 19th-century beams and mill turbines were to be retained. The client also has accessibility needs that needed to be taken into consideration.

The first step was to stabilize the foundation and restore the stone walls. The interior was framed and insulated, with portions of the stonework exposed to reference the mill’s history. A new staircase and elevator permits accessibility to all floors. Unused beams and wood joists from the lower level were recycled into the second and third floors.

The basement-level turbine room was developed into a screened summer entertainment space with a view of the mill’s original turbines. Energy conservation was achieved by harnessing geothermal temperatures of the millpond, using a heat pump system that supplies warm water for radiant heating and domestic use, and cool water for fan units.

DESIGN TEAM: WILLIAM BENNETT ARCHITECT (RESTORATION AND RENOVATION); DAVID POWELL AND FENWICK BONNELL, OF POWELL & BONNELL (INTERIOR DESIGN).

Featured in Canadian Interiors (November/December 2006)

Eko, Toronto

Dialogue 38, Toronto

In-the-know shoppers had been visiting Eko jewellery store on Toronto’s trendy Queen Street West for more than seven years. When the owner decided to expand the store’s premises from 580 square feet to 860 square feet, she asked Bennett Lo of Dialogue 38 to design a new look with a neutral backdrop that would not overshadow the jewellery. Lo responded by creating a sculptural art gallery where merchandise is not visible from the street but showcased instead in lines of white columns inside the store. Circulation in the store is delineated by a central white Italian Cipolino marble service and display counter. The interior space narrows in width, height and depth as it stretches towards the back, with a floor-level transition leading to a dramatic back wall for artists’ installations.

Featured in Canadian Interiors (November/December 2006)

Deaf Culture Centre, Toronto

Quadrangle Architects Limited, Toronto

The mandate for a new facility in Toronto’s historic Distillery District was to create a centre celebrating the diversity and culture of deaf people in Canada. Quadrangle Architects’ design approach addresses the special considerations of deaf people through design, layout, organization and visual diction in the two-storey space. Central to this is a sophisticated yet vibrant colour palette that minimizes visual noise while allowing clients to visually relate to their space. Glass panels between offices offer sightlines for communication; ledges placed throughout the centre leave hands free for signing. Conceptual interpretations of the sign symbols for such words as “culture,” “inspire,” “resonate,” and “preserve” – designed by Bruce Mau – can be found throughout the centre.

DESIGN TEAM: PARTNER-IN-CHARGE SHELDON LEVITT, SUSAN RUPTASH, TED SHORE, VERA GISAROV AND NIHAN BASAK.

Featured in Canadian Interiors (September/October 2006)

Humber School of Spa Management, Toronto

Gow Hastings Architects, Toronto

Training students in an actual working environment was the focus for a redesign of a retail shop and classroom at Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning in Toronto.

Gow Hastings was given the mandate to create a spa setting at the school, where staff and students would feel comfortable receiving spa treatments and where students in the spa management course would gain practical experience. The designers chose a materials palette of natural products – such as Kirei board, a material made of renewable, non-toxic components, linoleum flooring and low-VOC materials. The space was kept as transparent as possible to the main corridor, with spa services located in private areas at the back.

Red and green were used throughout, with red accents on the entrance door and in the slot ceiling, which leads from the retail space to the spa lounge.

DESIGN TEAM: VALERIE GOW, PHILIP HASTINGS AND TYLER WALKER

KidZone, Toronto

3rd Uncle Design, Toronto

When the Interior Design Show decided to include a KidZone element last February, the goal was to showcase new and innovative furniture and products for children. The designers tackling the assignment at 3rd Uncle would have to seek out their inner child to create a fun environment. They accomplished this by thinking, in this case, inside the box – or about boxes, which are always intriguing when you are five.

The space was comprised of modular components, display platforms and ceilings dye-cut from recyclable cardboard. A hovering ceiling of boxes acted as a large lid, while a grid of simple light sockets with pull-string switches provided a straightforward approach to lighting and a sense of domestic scale within the larger exhibit hall.

Each product was featured on an open cardboard box platform – the surface, at eye level for small children, mirrored and covered with dollar-store toys. The open flaps of each box were designed to incorporate silk-screened graphics and text information, along with dye-cut slots for brochures and take-away material.

DESIGN TEAM: PARTNER-IN-CHARGE JOHN TORY AND MAZEN EL-ABDALLAH.

Canadian Museum of Inuit Art, Toronto

GH3, Toronto

The Canadian Museum of Inuit Art, dedicated to displaying and interpreting Inuit art, is located on Toronto’s harbourfront in Queen’s Quay Terminal – a mixed-use residential and commercial building and a significant tourist destination. Since the terminal’s ground floor is primarily stores and restaurants, the design goal for GH3 was to create a space for the gallery removed from the surrounding commercial activity.

A former retail space was stripped down, with walls, ceiling, mechanical services and display surfaces painted white, and a new white cement floor poured. The museum is organized around seven galleries, delineated by four irregularly shaped floor-to-ceiling partitions, constructed of metal studs and drywall and meant to evoke the iconic landscape forms of arctic ice.

In contrast, the perimeter of the museum is rigorously orthogonal, with display blocks/shelves cantilevered behind full-height sliding glass panels. All shelving, glass enclosures and pedestals are intentionally minimal to provide a neutral backdrop to the art.

DESIGN TEAM: PARTNER-IN-CHARGE PAT HANSON, PARTNER DIANA GERRARD, PROJECT ARCHITECT DAVID AGRO, RAYMOND CHOW AND SUE CHEN.

Lumiere condominiums, Toronto

Munge//Leung Design Associates, Toronto

The sales office and model suite for Lumiere condominiums were conceived by Munge//Leung to provide prospective buyers with the concept of a lifestyle distinctive from other condo developments in downtown Toronto. The sales office’s podium style, form and approach was inspired by Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion. A cedar wood entranceway and wall panel greets visitors; the structure looks out on the urban landscape through crystalline glass curtains. This combination of glass and wood, repeated throughout, establishes the level of elegance being offered to buyers.

DESIGN TEAM: ALESSANDRO MUNGE, SAI LEUNG AND MARK OJASCASTRO

Microloft Project, Montreal

Volume3, Montreal

Designer ric Gigure took a 19th-century clothing factory in Old Montreal and turned it into four micro-lofts, intended as furnished units
for short-term lease. Since each loft area is only 750 square feet, Giguere concentrated on providing clean, uncluttered surfaces with spaces defined by simple, straight lines. Key to the design is an opalescent glass form, which houses the bathroom; this anchors the other rooms, creating a division between the kitchen and living/dining areas and also the bedroom. Materials used, although limited, are of high quality, including brushed steel faucets and muscular steel door pivots for the glass slab door. In the kitchen, bamboo cabinetry combines with sliding matte Plexiglas doors and Aota marble composite counters.

Featured in Canadian Interiors (January/February 2006)