In order to provide durable, long-term architectural solutions that are adapted to their context, our firm, Microclimat, brings together the required design and construction expertise under one roof. Inspired by the design/build process, we believe that expertise in construction enables us to bring a project from its embryonic stage to delivery by ensuring continuity, consistency and cohesion. The First Avenue Residence in Montreal is the result of this integrated process.
By Microclimat and Odile Hénault.
The dense residential neighbourhoods of the city, laid out during the early decades of the 20th century, are dotted with tiny freestanding houses, inserted here and there in the urban fabric. When these houses come up for sale, often in a state of disrepair or dilapidation, they offer architects a new field of practice. These properties provide an opportunity to integrate contemporary lifestyles into traditional streetscapes in the heart of the city.
The lot, located in the borough of Rosemont, was previously occupied by a small single-family house built in 1911. Unocccupied for seven years, the house was poorly maintained, and the materials used to repair or replace certain original elements, including the cornice, the porch, the awnings and the brickwork, were ill-chosen and of poor quality. With its architectural value lost, the only practical option was demolition.
Our challenge was to use the land to its full potential, designing a building with the maximum floor space permitted by the municipality, and to insert a building that would be contemporary in its expression, yet respectful of the context of this historic neighbourhood. The project was also designed to meet the clients’ need for open, well-lit, well-ventilated spaces that would support connected living inside, and which at the same time would have a strong relationship to the outside.
Owners Simon Meagher, Audrey Leblanc
Architect Architecture Microclimat
Engineer Géniex Construction/Ingénierie
Contractor Microclimat Architecture et Construction
Photos Adrien Williams
Odile Haineault is a Quebec-based architectural journalist.