Montreal’s Carré des Arts: Heritage Meets Modernity

Project Highlights

Location: 1115 Square-Amherst
Client: Private client
Architect (concept): Sid Lee Architecture
Architect (execution): ADHOC Architectes
Area: 34 154 sq. ft.
Electromechanical engineers: SP Génie Conseil
Structural engineers: CPF Groupe Conseil
Photographer: David Boyer

Urban Dynamism: Melding Old and New

In the heart of Montreal’s Centre-South borough, the Carré des Arts project, a brainchild of Sid Lee Architecture and masterfully executed by ADHOC Architectes, stands as a testament to the seamless integration of heritage and modernity. This residential masterpiece, comprising 46 units, breathes new life into the former All Nations Church commercial premises. Not just another housing complex, Carré des Arts is a visual symphony that gracefully intertwines the contemporary allure of residential spaces with the rich heritage of a former place of worship.

Preserving Heritage: A Symphony of Continuity

The revitalization of the All Nations Church demanded a delicate touch and a deep understanding of historical context. Sid Lee Architecture, the visionary force behind Carré des Arts, didn’t just aim to preserve the existing structure but sought to accentuate its unique features. Through meticulous planning and technical expertise, the project preserves the integrity of the original building, ensuring a thoughtful conservation effort. The retention of ornamental brick treatments, striking peace symbols, and the massive door not only honors the past but adds an authentic depth to the project.

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New Dimensions: Vibrant Geometry and Harmonious Encounter

Adjacent to the old church, a new volume emerges, marked by vibrant geometry. Sid Lee Architecture’s signature grid pattern, manifested in a series of delicately stacked cubes, creates a dynamic interplay of form and function. This architectural exploration, with its alternating inward bay windows and outward loggias, invites pedestrians to stop and contemplate the surprising continuity between the past and present. The fusion of the old and new required inventive construction strategies, showcasing the project’s ability to transform technical challenges into a true feat of engineering and architecture.

Opening and Light: A Warm Urban Haven

Beyond the controlled contrast between the old church’s frugal style and the new glazed volumes, Carré des Arts opens up warm living areas to a unique urban context. The grid structure gives rise to expansive, luminous interiors, while wooden surfaces on each balcony enhance the enveloping aspect of the form. Jean Pelland, Architect and Principal Partner of Sid Lee Architecture, emphasizes that the alternating grid maximizes interior and exterior spaces, offering each resident a unique view of the city coupled with a profound sense of intimacy.

In the complex tapestry of Montreal’s urban landscape, Carré des Arts stands not just as a housing project but as a living testament to the marriage of heritage and modernity. Sid Lee Architecture and ADHOC Architectes have woven a masterpiece that not only preserves history but celebrates it, creating a harmonious encounter between the morphology of the past and the dynamic present.

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