Page D4.2 . 30 July 2003                     
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    New Urbanity in Montréal

    continued

    Construction

    Building over the Ville-Marie Expressway presented a major structural challenge. To span the highway and support the building above, the engineers specified steel beams 100 feet (30 meters) long and 16 feet (five meters) high. Its flanges improve the building's resistance to earthquakes.

    The architects were also interested in using the latest energy-efficient technologies, which affected many other architectural choices, including double walls to optimize energy use and raised flooring to improve airflow. Fritted glass in the atrium reduces overheating due to sun penetration, thereby stabilizing the indoor temperature.

    The interior design for the CDP Capital Centre is efficient, flexible, and dynamic. Glass walls between office floors and the atrium promote face-to-face communication and ensure maximum daylight penetration.

    The minimalist office furniture was designed in modular units to be flexible and to accommodate changing space requirements. Movable office partitions make the relocation of workstations an easy task. Colors are bright and cheery, and wood finishes give the spaces warmth and vitality.

    Beginning a Change for Montréal

    Despite local debates about the importance of the role of the Quartier International in Montréal's economic and urban development and about how well the new business district integrates with the existing urban environment, the CDP Capital Centre has brought about what I believe to be a necessary change.

    Despite remaining questions about whether its huge investment in time and money is warranted, architecture is, in my view, both the key to and the result of the city's social, political, and economic evolution. Architecture symbolizes society, and it is the message of its reality.

    Today, Montréal is witnessing an evolution in its urban fabric, which will inevitably generate a change in its social, economic, and political behavior, and then further influence architectural development. This change was spurred in part, by a debate about tradition, identity, and culture versus modernism, internationalism, and globalization. The CDP Capital, a collaboration of local expertise, stands out as a highly visible symbol of this change.

    Victor A. Khoueiry is an architect and journalist living in Montréal, Québec.

     

    AW

    ArchWeek Image

    An entrance lobby of Montréal's CDP Capital Centre connects via escalator to the Parquet level.
    Photo: Zeina Najjar

    ArchWeek Image

    Furniture was designed with elegance and subtlety to match the scale of the Parquet and to accommodate employee needs.
    Photo: Zeina Najjar

    ArchWeek Image

    Lighting and colors give the underground metro entrance a warm ambiance, along with artwork made specially to fit in this underground network.
    Photo: Zeina Najjar

    ArchWeek Image

    Seen from the Parquet and illuminated by the skylight, a sculpture by Irène Whittome gives an atmosphere of relaxation.
    Photo: Zeina Najjar

    ArchWeek Image

    Floor plan of the CDP Capital Centre, Parquet level.
    Image: Gauthier, Daoust Lestage Inc., Faucher Aubertin Brodeur Gauthier, and Architectes Lemay et Associés

    ArchWeek Image

    Section looking west, showing thermal air flows.
    Image: Gauthier, Daoust Lestage Inc., Faucher Aubertin Brodeur Gauthier, and Architectes Lemay et Associés

    ArchWeek Image

    A typical office floor plan.
    Image: Gauthier, Daoust Lestage Inc., Faucher Aubertin Brodeur Gauthier, and Architectes Lemay et Associés

    ArchWeek Image

    Section looking north.
    Image: Gauthier, Daoust Lestage Inc., Faucher Aubertin Brodeur Gauthier, and Architectes Lemay et Associés

     

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