2002 Governor General’s Medals for Architecture: Centre d’archives de Montral, Montreal, Quebec

Dan S. Hanganu/Provencher Roy et associs

Part of the network of the Quebec Archives’ nine regional centres, the new Archives Centre sits northeast of Old Montreal in an emerging cultural district close to the Universit du Qubec Montral and the proposed new Grande Bibliothque du Qubec. Wishing to emphasize public accessibility, the design offers spaces and programs for everyone from historians and training archivists to tourists who might frequent an exhibition room or the renovated 120-seat amphitheatre.

New functions for the facility are matched with existing spaces while old elements have been repainted and altered slightly. A dramatic six-storey skylit atrium with beaux-arts faades hides small offices or large workshops, and a multi-storey reading room features a circular stair. At the atrium level are meeting rooms and a box of four floors of climate-controlled storage rooms, which defines the western edge of the atrium with a perforated zinc screen forming a backdrop for the early morning play of sunbeams.