Canadian Architect

Feature

Emerging Talent: Microclimat Architecture

July 14, 2016
by Sarah Fletcher

Olivier Lajeunesse-Travers, Guillaume Marcoux

Olivier Lajeunesse-Travers, Guillaume Marcoux

The office of Microclimat Architecture is cheerfully cluttered and buzzing with music as the team builds a temporary pavilion for Montreal’s Village Éphémère festival, one of several projects on the go. True to its name, Microclimat holds an interest in the tiny nuances of context and aims to maximize tight spaces in urban milieus. The firm was born in true Canadian fashion: founders Olivier Lajeunesse-Travers, 33, and Guillaume Marcoux, 34, met on the ice, playing hockey in Quebec City. They wield complementary skills. Lajeunesse-Travers has a background in residential design, while Marcoux specializes in commercial and institutional projects.

In the Hôtel-de-Ville house in Montreal, a slender addition opens up existing floorplates while preserving a large backyard poplar tree. Photo by Adrien Williams

In the Hôtel-de-Ville house in Montreal, a slender addition opens up existing floorplates while preserving a large backyard poplar tree. Photo by Adrien Williams

At just three years old, the firm has already garnered acclaim with a 2015 Quebec Grand Prix du Design for a fitness centre. La Taule (“The Slammer”), located in Quebec’s Eastern Townships, features interiors tall enough for the trapezes, silks and hoops that local circus performers use for training. The group worked with a modest budget and a warm palette of materials, including cherry wood and red cedar. Cool steel envelops the exterior, and in the summer, half of the centre’s running track snakes its way outdoors in a conscious bid to draw in passers-by from the road. More recently, Microclimat won a competition for a condo on Sherbrooke Street—a resounding early-game goal for the founding duo, whose sights are set on larger developments that combine their core aptitudes.