Comfort and Cachet (September 01, 2002)

Htel Le Germain, Montreal, Qubec

Lemay Michaud Architecture Design

In Montreal, a 16-storey office building constructed in 1966 on rue Mansfield to house the headquarters of the Ordre des Ingnieurs du Qubec has been converted into the luxury-class Htel Le Germain. The renovation represents one of the few such projects in Canada that preserves Modern architecture. The design has reaped Save Montreal’s Prix Orange (1999) and a Jury Grand Prize Award as well as a SAQ People’s Choice Award at Commerce Design Montreal in 2000. The hotel has two precursors also owned by Dveloppement Germain-des-Prs: in Ste-Foy, Qubec (Htel Germain-des-Prs, opened in 1988) and the Htel Dominion, opened in 1997 and housed in a renovated office building near the Old Port of Qubec City. Each hotel is unique, however, in design details. The Germain’s elegant design syntax is akin to the kind of attention to detail found in a fashion shop, living up to the moniker of “boutique hotel.” On entering from rue Mansfield, visitors are surrounded by a two-storey lobby offering an intimate arrangement of large sofa-chairs and a fireplace, as well as a waterfall sheeting over an uninterrupted 21-foot-high glass wall at the back. The mezzanine level bar doubles as a breakfast area, though the hotel has no restaurant.

The 101 rooms all have panoramic views of the surrounding office towers’ window-walls, contributing to a sense of urban cosiness and proximity. Rare ipe and sapele, two dark tropical woods, are the primary materials used in Lemay Michaud’s beds and bathroom furniture. Bedroom ceilings are exposed concrete, the common areas downstairs boast a complex texture palette of concrete mixed with glass, flowing water, and heavy fabrics. Bathrooms are separated from the rest of the guest room by a glass wall which can be screened off using the hanging mahogany Venetian blind. Feather duvets, crisp linens and cotton towels, in addition to black and white photography by Louis Ducharme, complete the bedroom’s dual mix of soft and rough dcor details.

A fitness facility (not equipped with a pool) is located on the fifth floor while two kitchen-equipped penthouse apartments have a fireplace and double-height wall-to-wall windows offering dramatic streetscape views of avenue Prsident-Kennedy. NM

Client: Dveloppement Germain-des-Prs

Architect team:Viateur Michaud (partner-in-charge), Marielle Landry (project architect)

Structural: BPR, ingnieurs-conseils

Mechanical/Electrical: Expert-Conseil Genecor Inc.

Interiors: Lemay Michaud Architecture Design

Contractor: Les Constructions Pierre Blouin

Area: 71,000 sq. ft.

Budget: $6,000,000

Completion: 1999

Photography: Daniel Ouellet