Mount Stephen Club

ARCHITECT Lemay (Lemay Lab)
LOCATION Montreal, Quebec

The project concerns the revitalization of the historic elite Mount Stephen Club located on Drummond Street in downtown Montreal. In addition to being a designated heritage landmark, the building is a true gem of 19th-century bourgeois architecture. 

In order to reposition the Mount Stephen Club in Montreal’s cultural landscape, the owner plans to build a prestigious 80-room boutique hotel and banquet rooms for 500 patrons. New attributes such as a modern kitchen, underground parking for 96 cars, and diverse amenities such as a spa, fitness centre, meeting rooms and two lobby bars are also planned for the complex. Consequently, the main challenge of the project was to fit the entire building program on a small landlocked site containing a heritage landmark.

To address this challenge, the urban design approach dictated siting the new hotel structure at the back of the site behind the historic building. This innovative strategy will consolidate the perimeter of the site and suitably frame the landmark. The new hotel tower will serve as a dramatic backdrop for the heritage building set in the foreground.

The deceptively straightforward layout uses the front door of the Mount Stephen Club as the main entrance to the complex, and the circulation spine runs north-south through the heritage building, linking all the main components of the complex.

Exterior elevations aim for formal simplicity with the creation of an abstract pattern that will be a fitting counterpoint to the Neoclassical ornamentation of the existing historic building. Inspired by textures and motifs drawn from the Club’s tapestries, lacework and carpets, the intention of this pattern was to create a precious, iconic and luminous object. On the three demising walls, a signature feature is established through a series of reflective LED fixtures–normally used in landscaping and pavers and powered by photovoltaic cells–which are set into the concrete panels in a diamond grid pattern.

DC: This is a clever solution to mine for density in a city block already occupied with a designated building; using a foreground/background solution of massing, respectively, toward preservation and new construction. By repurposing the historically designated building as a frontispiece, the boutique hotel maintains a respectful “veil” backdrop structure owing much to its evenness of a disciplined fenestration pattern and crisply kerfed top.

MCC: The graphic approach to the façades is innovative, offering a dynamic contrast to the existing Mount Stephen Club building. However, the new structure is sensitively sited to permit the existing building to breathe, acting more as a theatrical backdrop inspired by the textiles adorning the interior spaces.

BH: The revitalization of the Mount Stephen Club is a project that piques our interest in part because of its resistance to current architectural discourse and accepted expression. While multiple entries this year (too many, in fact!) included pixellated façades, this project took the theme of a textured façade to a graphically unusual extent while proposing an adventurous series of hotel rooms. 

Client Tidan Group
Architect Team Michel Lauzon, Gino Mauri, Didier Heckel, Sandra Neill, Jean-François St-Onge, Bryan Marchand, Jean-François Fortin-Gadoury, Virginie Pontbriand, Damien Leman, Geneviève Telmosse, François Desmarais
Structural Nicolet, Chartrand, Knoll Ltd.
Mechanical/Electrical Pageau Morel et associés inc.
Interiors Lemay
Life Safety & Code Technorm
Contractor Tidan Group
Photographer Marie-Claude Beaudet
Area 120,000 ft2
Budget $25 M
Completion June 2014