This building is a transformation of an existing building, the present is a three storey brick veneer. Commercial on the ground floor, with residential on the top. The whole building is in poor condition with two smaller one storey commercial buildings on Duluth Street that are abandoned. Visually the ground floor is disconnected from its upper floors, and the whole building is  disconnect of the adjacent neighbours.  

The first goal is to complete the cohesiveness of the block, which has two designated heritage buildings by the city. Located on Boul. St-Laurent, this is a very important artery and strict parameters must be adhered to.

The lot is zoned commercial on the ground with residential above. Understanding the rhythm of the block and your neighbours, the new building height is matched to its neighbour, while stone and the pattern of fenestration guides the eye across the whole street facade, allowing the new addition to feel as though it was always there. This pattern is present across the whole building and within the private courtyard. The heritage building across the street has its own rhythm of windows and scale that work together. The new building design has to understand this relationship and present a new way to assemble the familiar.

The second goal is to make this a Passivhaus certified building in stone construction. Reversing the current L-shape building but with better proportions and scale, helps in opening the site and allowing more sunlight (energy) to enter the building. One of the limits that needed to be addressed is the tall heritage building across the street. This played a big role in the sun study, which helped guide some decisions with the amount of sun available.  

We are using dimensional stone limestone from Portugal, Crème D’ivoire, colour beige. This stone has great performance for our extreme climate. A density that is over 2700 kg/m3, an open porosity of just 0.1% and water absorption of 0.05%.  The open porosity is the ratio of tiny open spaces (pores) of the stone, in our climate you look for a stone that will not allow too much water in and go through a freeze and thaw cycle. Having a very low water absorption rate helps the stone to resist staining. The second structure (interior) is a series of stone arches of the same quality stone, which supports a wooden floor/ceiling system. The interior staircases are also made of solid stone.

The energy balance has been done and the numbers speak as to what can be done using stone, not just a vener. A Passivhaus pre-construction building, with commercial on the ground floor and residential above. 100+ years

Technical data:

Location: Montreal, Canada. Project: 2020.  Land area: 664 sqm ( 7147 sqft). Building foot print: 438 sqm ( 4714 sqft). Number of stories: 4. Materials: Concrete cast in place foundation, dimensional limestone: Lioz Creme D’ivoire , Timber floor/ceiling system, triple panne windows.

Collaborators: Lens-images rendered images. Solancis dimensional limestone Lioz Creme d’Ivoire. The Stonemasonry Company for information on stair case.

Thank you to Hugo Paciencia from Solancis who always takes time to answer some mudane question, to Pierre Bidaud from the Stonemasonry Company for introducing me to stone staire cases and answering questions and to M. Webb of WebbYates engineers who took time to answer some basic question for me and there papers in structural stone stair design, that keep me pushing to understand the physics behind it. To Alessandro from Lens-images, always easy to work with and a good friend Samir Admo, for the historical guidance search.