Lemay was responsible for the architecture, interior design and landscape architecture of new offices for Pomerleau, a major player in the Canadian construction industry with over 2,000 projects to its name. For this challenging project, located between a highway and a forest, the designers redefined the language of the office environment, showing sensitivity to form, implementation and workplace quality.
To recall Pomerleau’s role as builder, Lemay made raw materials key to the interior design: natural pine wood siding, polished concrete floors, and reception furniture and railings made of raw steel plates. Exposed mechanical and electrical equipment reinforce this feeling, as does the design of the building itself, with its wood and steel structural framing resembling construction framework.
Unique flooring and distinctive lighting accentuate and define key areas, facilitating wayfinding. Lighting fixtures built into the inside walls emphasize verticality. Throughout the building, clean lines create a peaceful atmosphere and stimulate creativity.
Unfinished steel plates become railings for internal stairwells, unfolding in space like ribbons connecting two floors. These steel plates contrast with the railings of the outside stairs, which are simple in their vertical, flat iron. They also offer a playful alternation between opacity and transparency.
Indoor common areas are strategically positioned. Fully glazed meeting rooms encourage teamwork, as attractive places to gather and share ideas. Coffee stations become informal meeting places to socialize, helping to build a natural synergy between colleagues.
Rather than working against the forest, Lemay made it a feature of the project, with both the inside décor and the landscape architecture serving as an extension of the natural environment. The building’s three distinct wings and their massive windows frame the adjacent woodland, while the sweeping indoor/outdoor use of wood brings the forest inside, creating a dialogue between the project and its site.
The central hall is the wings’ focal point. The intersection of the two main wings creates an open space defining the reception area and main staircase: this is a gathering space and visitor welcome area. It overlooks the courtyard in the foreground and the forest beyond.
One of the wings hosts meeting rooms and a cafeteria, which form the courtyard. A green roof provides intimacy to the enclosure, away from the highway, with a strong forest connection. Another wing consists of closed offices located in the centre, and open-area workstations on the periphery; this allows for maximum penetration of natural light and access to generous views of the surrounding greenery.
The unique selection of finishing materials, creation of monumental stairwells, innovative lighting design and strategic arrangement of common vs. working areas, fulfil the many objectives of this project: to showcase the constructive knowledge and expertise of Pomerleau; to use the forest as a defining element; to maximize natural light and human connections, while minimizing the presence of the highway; and to promote a feeling of calm and oneness with nature, in this unique and high-quality working environment.
Photography by Jonathan Robert.