HEC Montréal and Provencher_Roy are addressing the school’s space deficiency with a new building to be located in the heart of downtown Montréal’s business district.
Provencher_Roy has conceived 29,160 m2 contemporary intervention set within a contrasting urban fabric juxtaposed with the heritage site and its green environment.
Placed next to the Saint Patrick Basilica, on the block bounded by Boulevard René-Lévesque Ouest, Beaver Hall Hill, De La Gauchetière Street and Saint-Alexandre Street, the design team was faced with a singular topography characterized by a marked change in elevation of 9 to 10 metres.
Stringent constraints arising from the regulations governing urban insertion and neighbouring properties also influenced the concept.
For the northeast portion of the lot, the buildable height could not exceed the level of the church’s roof. Toward Beaver Hall Hill, the contiguity of the lots necessitated blind lateral walls and a right of way granting access to the rear of the neighbouring lot.
The building concept is centred on three themes: dynamism, lightness, and respect for the site. The first results in a building with a contemporary style that is reflected in the choices made with respect to insertion, massing and materials.
The second is manifested by a building that integrates into the existing framework in a manner that contrasts with the heavy massing of the older buildings. The third consideration opens up a dialogue between the new intervention, the city, and the basilica with its green environment.
The insertion and massing of the building follow the site’s contour lines. The angular facade of the east wing allows for perspectives onto the basilica. The northeast facade looks skyward, conferring lightness to the new building, while the southeast facade, inversely inclined, reflects the green surroundings and helps the building blend into its environment.
The southwest facade is similarly inclined, accompanying in parallel the sweep of the garden façade with a V-shaped opening that accentuates the entrance along Rue De La Gauchetière.
The morphology and treatment of the new building’s facades produce two distinct characters where one side is in dialogue with the urban panorama, while the side looking out onto the basilica and the park are characterized by a fluid insertion, presenting a light, gleaming visage comprised of diverse fenestration in shades of white.
Circulation inside the building is oriented along two principal axes. The first comes from the De La Gauchetière entrance and rises gradually toward the northeast and the pedestrian entrance along Boulevard René-Lévesque. The second axis, perpendicular to the first, runs from the Beaver Hall entrance toward the basilica’s forecourt, connecting the city and the garden.
The lower levels house the meeting and gathering functions with classrooms immediately above it. The upper levels are reserved for administrative gatherings with meeting spaces, classrooms and administrative offices of the Executive Education Department.
The research centre takes up the northwest wing and its ground floor features spaces dedicated to collaborative work. An atrium window in the centre of the building provides natural illumination that serves as the building’s DNA.
The new building integrates the latest technologies and seeks LEED Silver certification