November 21, 2017
by Canadian Architect
Among the many Canadian firms lauded at this year’s American Architecture Prize, Lemay, one of Quebec’s leading architecture, design and urban development firm, celebrated its third AAP award. The prestigious international award recognizes Lemay’s unique, user-driven design and stunning architectural branding for leading construction firm Pomerleau in Lévis, Quebec.
Pomerleau Offices – Main entrance. Photo credit: Jonathan Robert
“From every angle, the new Pomerleau offices near Quebec City speak to the client’s mission, values and culture, thanks to our integrated design approach and process,” said Louis T. Lemay, the firm’s president and excellence facilitator, of the eloquent gesture made by Lemay’s architects, interior designers and landscape architects. “This architectural branding of the work environment reinforces employees’ engagement and sense of belonging.”
The unique, three-wing building features an exposed steel structure and visible mechanical equipment, recalling construction framework and emphasizing Pomerleau’s role as a builder. The use of raw materials reinforces this notion: natural pine, polished concrete, steel plating. These and other industrial touches help the building to integrate with a greater Pomerleau campus that hosts warehouses and garages, as well.
Lemay also redefined the language of the office environment, with a wealth of attractive, informal gathering spaces encouraging teamwork and synergy. The building’s few closed offices are central, with open-area workstations and floor-to-ceiling windows lining the periphery, for maximum penetration of natural light and stunning forest views: a proven way to enhance employee productivity and well-being.
Common areas are positioned strategically throughout the indoor environment. Attractive places to gather and share ideas, the fully glazed meeting rooms encourage teamwork while coffee stations become informal meeting places to socialize, helping to foster the company’s collaborative core values and a natural synergy. The central hall is the convergence point of the three wings, defining the building’s reception, main staircase and a meeting room. It overlooks the courtyard in the foreground and the forest beyond.
“We made the forest a defining feature of the project,” said Eric Pelletier, Lemay partner, design principal and project lead.
“The extra-large windows frame the lush greenery and bring it inside.”
The edgy new work environment won over the 2017 AAP Jury with its “Design Excellence, Innovation and Function” in the Industrial category.
Two other Lemay projects just earned AAP recognition through honourable mentions, as well.
It’s a fourth nod for the harmoniously integrated downtown Montmagny Library (in the Infrastructure category), which won a Wood Design Award in the Heritage category this year from Cecobois, the centre of expertise in commercial wood construction, and a 2015 Architecture Award from the Quebec Library Association. Notable for its eloquent melding of new construction with an existing former presbytery, the library was also a runner-up in the Quebec order of architects’ Institutional and Public Buildings category in 2015.
It’s a first honourable mention for the sensational Paquet Wharf and Esplanade in Lévis, Quebec, with its monumental fountain. What was a barren, post-industrial ferry wharf has been transformed into a landmark and a grand entrance to the City of Lévis: an international cruise ship wharf, a tourist attraction, a historic interpretation site and a local gathering space. It was in the running in the Public Architecture category.
Photos by Jonathan Robert.