2002 Governor General’s Medals for Architecture: Benny Farm, Montreal, Quebec
Saia et Barbarese architectes/Laverdire + Gigure architectes
The original design for Benny Farm, developed after the Second World War as housing for Canadian veterans and their families, retains the distinct character that helped veterans reintegrate into civic life. The architects retained the original plan but refined the crenelated volumes and tightened their configuration in order to permit the planning of more modest lots. An enfilade of longitudinal courtyards planted with trees is the result. These urban courtyards terminate at newly created streets at Benny Avenue and Cavendish Boulevard. Landscaped gardens alternate with architectural expression to structure the space into a rhythmic checkerboard. Privacy is achieved through the use of the brick walls on the buildings’ public facades. Intimate garden faades of anthracite stucco are enlivened with glass guard rails dotted with pea-green spots at each balcony. Textured design, as well as massing and plan, all convey a sense of vitality and renewal in this project, which operates as a continuous ensemble and a reminder of the historical identity of a unique community of dwellers.