Page D2.2 . 28 April 2004                     
ArchitectureWeek - Design Department
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Unconventionally Colorful


The Palais des Congrès de Montréal expansion of a million square feet (93,000 square meters) doubles the size of the original Palais, which was built in the 1980s by "neo-brutalist" architect Victor Prus.

Importantly, the new architecture also covers a sunken highway that had separated Montréal's historic and business districts. The new construction further repairs the urban fabric by providing ground level public and commercial activity and pedestrian and transportation links.

The part of the building with the attention-grabbing glass is along the Rue de Bleury. Along this street, the glass wall steps down one story in ironic deference to the heights of neighboring buildings from the first half of the 20th century. Entries are marked by cantilevered translucent glass canopies, which are internally illuminated to glow at night. Inside, the Hall Bleury serves as a major public space serving new exhibit halls and conference rooms.

Writing in Canadian Architect in October 2003, Michael Carroll, co-founder of Atelier Build, observed that "a fairly conventional and ubiquitous space is transformed into a memorable and intense experience as jet-lagged convention delegates mill around in the prefunction space, viewing themselves and Montréal through a changing kaleidoscope of saturated color. A gray world is thus viewed through a psychedelic lens."

Although other facades of the new convention center are more subdued, it is the colored glass that demands attention. As Carroll notes, it "does not fail to create a memorable moment as we look through pink, blue, and chartreuse lenses upon what was, in an instant before, an everyday humdrum world. The lasting impression is a Palais des Congrès that is decidedly unconventional."

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Project Credits

Tétreault, Parent, Languedoc et Associés
Saïa et Barbarese Architectes
Hal Ingberg Architect
Structural: Dessau-Soprin
Mechanical/ electrical: Pageau Morel et Associés/ Genivar
Landscape: Claude Cormier Architectes Paysagistes
Interiors: Les architectes Tétreault Dubuc Saïa et Associés
Contractor: Gespro / BFC / Divco


ArchWeek Image

Expansion of the Palais des Congrès de Montréal designed by a collaboration of Tétreault, Parent, Languedoc et Associés with Saïa et Barbarese Architectes, Ædifica, and Hal Ingberg Architect.
Photo: Hal Ingberg Architect

ArchWeek Image

Hall Bleury interior.
Photo: Hal Ingberg Architect

ArchWeek Image

View down from third-floor prefunction space.
Photo: Hal Ingberg Architect

ArchWeek Image

Space between colored glass curtain wall and mirrored stainless steel wall on second floor.
Photo: Hal Ingberg Architect

ArchWeek Image

Colored light streaming into Hall Bleury.
Photo: Hal Ingberg Architect


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