Heritage Special Awards honour projects in Montreal

Six awards were recently announced in Montreal, recognizing the critical preservation of heritage structures in the city. The six awards are listed immediately following.

Ivanhoé Cambridge Award of Excellence 2012

The prestigious 2012 Montréal Architectural Heritage Campaign Ivanhoé Cambridge Award of Excellence is presented to the Société d’archéologie et de numismatique de Montréal, which celebrates its 150th anniversary this year. This “scholarly organization,” as it was referred to at the time, was founded in 1862 by a group of Montrealers led by Adélard J. Boucher (1835-1912), musician, professor, music periodical publisher and collector, and Stanley Clark Bagg (1820-1873), notary, and one of the leading landowners on the Island of Montréal. Over the years and through its publications, lectures and numerous public interventions, the Société, which is still active today, pursued its mission to preserve, study and enhance Montréal heritage. Saving the Québec government-owned Château Ramezay from demolition in the 1890s and transforming the building into a history museum, the oldest of its kind today in Quebec, is the most significant achievement of the Société d’archéologie et de numismatique de Montréal. The Société acquired the Château in 1929 from the Ville de Montréal, which owned the property, by transferring 10,000 of its precious books to the city library. In that same year, the Château Ramezay became the first monument in Montréal to be classified by the Commission des monuments historiques du Québec. The Société has controlled the Château Ramezay, the Museum and its collections since its inauguration on May 1, 1895. Today, the Château Ramezay Museum follows its mission with energy and creativity. Other contributions to history and city heritage by the Société d’archéologie et de numismatique de Montréal include public interventions to enhance the Champ-de-Mars fortifications, the preservation of the Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel and the renaming of the former Customs Square as place Royale. Also worth mentioning the installation of the first historical plaques identifying some 75 heritage buildings and sites.

Commercial Heritage Award – 2012

The Commercial Heritage Award is presented to RBC Royal Bank, the firm Martin Marcotte / Beinhaker Architectes and contractor St-Denis Thompson, for restoring the masonry of the RBC Royal Bank building at 351, avenue Laurier Ouest in the Plateau-Mont-Royal borough. This branch of the RBC Royal Bank was built in 1907, according to the plans of architect Kenneth G. Rea. The main façade along avenue Laurier features an entrance with triangular pediment. This building stands out with classical architecture and a lateral façade featuring recessed spans and wide stone, alternately. The building covering is terra cotta and limestone masonry. Masonry restoration was carried out in 2010-2011 with great care by the firm Martin Marcotte / Beinhaker Architectes. The work consisted in examining closely the condition of the enamelled terra cotta masonry and developing technical specifications and plans. The details, including the bas-relief and masonry sculptures were restored or replaced. The magnificent decorative sculpture at the base of the parapet, featuring modillions and small sculptures of lion heads, was restored to its original beauty. Masonry contractor St-Denis Thompson took on a major challenge with remarkable success. This award pays tribute to RBC Royal Bank for taking such great care of the building. It also acknowledges the outstanding efforts by professionals and artisans, who gave back to this beautiful building its majestic look.

Heritage Enhancement Award 2012

The Heritage Enhancement Award is presented to the firm Cardinal-Hardy-Beinhaker, architectes and Groupe Prével for recycling the former Imperial Tobacco plant buildings into a housing complex featuring some 500 units, now called the Imperial Lofts. The Imperial Tobacco industrial complex, which closed in 2003 after 100 years of operation, stands on three islands at the corner of rue Saint-Antoine and rue Rose-de-Lima, in Saint-Henri, in the city’s redeveloping Sud-Ouest borough. Imperial Lofts residential project designers took advantage of the existing buildings’ industrial architecture. The façades, hidden by metal covering added in the 1970s, were reconstituted, revealing wide openings as well as an elegant structure made of concrete, whose use in construction in the early 20th century was quite popular. Inserted into the shells of these old industrial buildings, the loft units feature 13-foot ceilings and generous windows. Almost 50% of the loft units in this remarkable complex are social or affordable housing units. The building integrates several sustainable development and pro-environment elements, including green roofs, rain water recycling, reflective roofs and greening solutions. The jury acknowledges the exceptional quality of this building recycling project, which enhances local heritage industrial buildings and brilliantly meets municipal orientations in the fields of housing, social mix and densification in central neighbourhoods.

Artisan Award 2012

The Artisan Award is presented to BLV Consultant for its remarkable work in restoring architectural and ornamental elements. Benoît Le Vergos started the business in 2006, after working at various roofing companies for more than 20 years in France and Québec. BLV Consultant specializes in the restoration of crowns, cornices and roofs of heritage houses. The company can count on the know-how of Benoît Le Vargos, an experienced and meticulous artisan who works with fine materials including slate, copper and zinc. BLV consultant employs traditional work methods used by yesterday’s craftsmen, as evidenced by the techniques used to shape metal by hand and hammer cornice parts into shape. The results are outstanding and the finished parts duplicate the original architectural elements. The firm’s contribution to preserve Montréal’s rich heritage is noteworthy, and for this reason it was given the Artisan Award 2012.

Award for Architectural Integration 2012

The Award for Architectural Integration goes to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the firm Provencher Roy + Associés Architectes, for the Claire and Marc Bourgie Pavilion of Quebec and Canadian Art, integrated with the former Erskine & American United Church. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts acquired the Erskine & American United Church in 2007 for its expansion project. The church, constructed in 1893-1894 was designed by a well-known Montréal architect of Scottish origin, Alexander Cowper Hutchison. Integration of the museum and church enabled the sustainable transformation of a religious building that was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1998. This major renovation included restoration of its façades, as well as the enhancement of the amphitheatre and the preservation of the most extensive collection of Tiffany stained-glass religious windows in Canada. The deeply altered and deteriorated annex, or former Sunday school room, was torn down and replaced by a four-storey building housing the museum’s new exhibition halls. The area used for the new halls stands out from the church with its modern architecture treatment. The clean lines and volume reflect a concern for architectural integration into the existing urban fabric. The use of quality materials, glass, white marble, the “signature materials” of the museum complex, creates a link between the new pavilion and existing buildings. A garden of sculptures extends the museum experience to
public property and creates unity between Sherbrooke Street and the museum. The jury wishes to acknowledge the exceptional work of professionals and experts as well as the contractor, Pomerleau. The challenge of extending a downtown museum in a dense and highly scrutinized area is noteworthy.

Special Award 2012

The Montréal Architectural Heritage Campaign jury wishes to pay special tribute to Alyssane McKale and Hichan Faridi, owners of Marché 4751 Inc. in the Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve borough, for the remarkable restoration work on this commercial building. This gourmet food shop opened in 2009 in a revitalizing neighbourhood. Soon after, the young entrepreneurs looked into the history of the premises and neighbourhood, and started renovating. During the repairs, a treasure was found under the entablature made of dyed wood boards. It consisted of stained-glass windows from the 1930s and a dome that was used for the business’s alcove entrance. These architectural heritage elements are rarely found in the Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve borough. These vestiges of the past captured the owners’ hearts, inspiring them to rise to the challenge and do a full restoration. The not-so-simple restoration job involved finding old photos, seeking professional help in the borough, looking for an architect and obtaining financial assistance from the city’s PR@M-Commerce program. A number of jobs were carried out under the supervision of professionals. The result is an exceptional restoration of the old commercial entablature, reflecting Montréal’s traditional architecture.

For more information, please visit www.operationpatrimoine.com/en_special_awards.html.