UQAM fashion pavilion’s new home in heritage building animates Montreal’s Quartier Latin

A new creative space and student environment is seeing the light of day at 280 Sainte-Catherine Street East in Montreal thanks to a determined vision of what a building and neighbourhood’s revitalization should offer: harmonious cohabitation that respects daily living.

Georges Coulombe, president of Gestion Georges Coulombe, is the project leader of this ambitious revitalization project designed as UQAM’s new fashion pavilion housing ESG UQAM’s École supérieure de mode in partnership with UQAM’s Faculty of Arts. The businessman’s professional long-term mission has been focused on modernizing numerous Montreal heritage buildings. He dares to reinterpret locations and revisit new forms, adapting walls to fit our evolving lifestyles. His vision has allowed buildings to regain their proud architectural expressions. “With the invaluable help of architect firm Rayside | Labossière, we worked to give life back to a dynamic luminous space, designing it to inspire those who visit it daily—professors and students in particular. Their constant collaboration and creativity allowed us to rebuild an ornamental cornice they discovered on an illustration that appeared alongside an article published in La Presse in 1913. This is a great recognition of our era’s evolution,” said Coulombe.

Coulombe is a passionate architectural heritage advocate, and while restoring a building is highly important to him, he also cares deeply about the creators who will use the space every day. “UQAM’s new fashion pavilion is a unique space in which architecture and fashion meet along a similar creative process, toward daily aesthetics serving Montreal’s reputation,” said Julia Lianis, architect, MOAQ, project manager for Rayside | Labossière.

Contributing to the charm and dynamic energy at the heart of the Quartier Latin, the building includes several special features. Its renovation was done in stages, turning it into a functional building that preserves the location’s integrity and historic charm while meeting the school’s requirements.

An entire floor was added. “This new floor offers unique light: It benefits from an impressive skylight set back from the frontage, which lets in light from the northwest, as well as a maximum curtain wall at the back, which allows southeastern light to enter,” adds Lianis. The new pavilion uses brick, concrete, steel and glass, noble raw materials that combine with the space’s natural light to revitalize Sainte-Catherine Street following with sustainable-development principles.

A family business founded in 1982, Gestion Georges Coulombe chose as its main mission the promotion of the charm, warmth and character of Old Montreal’s historic borough. The company owns nearly 20 commercial and residential historical buildings. Offering over two million square feet of rental space, Gestion Georges Coulombe is one of Montreal’s largest real-estate promoters and employs some 20 people.