Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Montreal, Canada by Provencher_Roy
July 6th, 2014 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Provencher_Roy
Provencher_Roy Architectes has signed its name to the restoration and expansion of the Ritz-Carlton Montreal, one of the architectural heritage gems in Quebec’s largest city.
“The project involved a major contemporary updating of a heritage building,” noted Claude Provencher, senior partner in Provencher_Roy. “It was quite a challenge to provide the hundred-year-old hotel with a new face without altering its personality. And today, we are proud that we were able to help return the ‘Great Lady’ to its former glory and ensure that it will be with us for many years to come.”
Inaugurated in 1912, the Ritz-Carlton is the only great luxury hotel in Montreal to have survived to the present day without changing vocation. Famous for its façades and its elegant Adam-style interiors, the hotel is one of the gems of Montreal architecture. Yet, despite its undeniable qualities, the Ritz-Carlton no longer responded to touristic demand, which has been undergoing profound changes over the last number of years.
Rejuvenating a vibrant symbol of Montreal
The hotel’s management wished to make the modifications needed to make the hotel profitable. The project, with a total area of 43,000 m2, included renovation of the historic hotel’s 130 original rooms and its public spaces, as well as a 12,500 m2 expansion to create 45 luxury condominiums.
The architects had to design this wing for the only space still available on the site: along the building’s west façade, above a garage dating from the 1930s. A two-storey volume was also to be added on the roof of the historic building. “It is very tricky to alter an existing structure,” explained Martin Vincent, project manager at Provencher_Roy. “We had to reinforce that structure and come up with very imaginative ways to integrate the new electro-mechanical systems.”
A pool and gym, accessible to both hotel guests and new residents, had to be installed at roof level, and installation of a new spa was planned for the basement of the old hotel.
A contemporary touch for a heritage building
One of the major challenges of the project was to integrate the new residential wing without either mimicking or over shadowing the unique character of the existing building. Following the inspiration of architects such as Pei (the pyramid at the Louvre) and Foster (the cupola on the Reichstag), Provencher_Roy opted for a glass-and-steel envelope that evokes the geometry and rhythm of the 1912 façade, while making an outstanding and resolutely contemporary statement. Similarly, the two new stories were built set back from the façade to preserve the architectural lines of the cornice.
“Our credo was to respect the identity of this remarkable building while imagining a way to expand it that would enhance its value,” confirmed the project’s architects, Claude Provencher and Eugenio Carelli. “The new wing plays on depths by wrapping itself in an elegantly composed envelope. It is through the quality of detail in the added structures that we wanted to highlight the quality of the original façade.”
The architects exploited the curtain-wall of the new wing to design apartments whose main features are space and light.In the old part of the hotel, the rooms were designed to subtly accentuate their private nature. On the other hand, the architects profited from the volumes of the new glass-and-steel structure to design living spaces that open onto each other (living, dining, kitchen areas) and offer a spectacular view of Montreal. Loggias of exceptional size for their type augment the apartments’ area and create permeability between exterior and interior spaces.
“The final result was simply delightful for us,”stated Andrew Torriani, CEO of the Ritz-Carlton Montreal. “The hotel is truly once again the ‘Great Lady of Sherbrooke Street.’ Our clients and employees have only great things to say about it. In fact, these comments are made about both the hotel and the residences.”
Provencher_Roy, a predominant player in urban architecture in Canada, is a multidisciplinary firm offering services in architecture, architectural planning, urban design and urban planning, interior design, and sustainable development. The firm brings together more than 150 passionate professionals working in all areas of the built environment in Canada and abroad. Its portfolio includes remarkable accomplishments in the institutional, science, transportation, and educational sectors, as well as mixed-use buildings combining offices, hotels, and retail. Over the years, Provencher_Roy has received more than 65 awards and distinctions recognizing the excellence of its projects in Quebec, Canada, and abroad.
The innovative and experienced team at Provencher_Roy is highly respected for its research procedures, and can harmoniously blend the well-being of users and staff while addressing the many technical and financial requirements involved in each project. For over thirty years, the group’s innovative approach has been to anticipate the impact of architectural conception and design in time and space, emphasizing the concept of openness and a holistic view of a gesture rooted in modernity, which forms an integral part of urban landscapes.
The values of Provencher_Roy are reflected in projects such as the Montreal Museum of Archaeology and History, the Montreal World Trade Centre, the expansion of Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau International Airport in Montreal, the Canadian Aviation Museum in Ottawa, the Ritz-Carlton in Montreal, the conversion of the Erskine & American Church into the new Canadian art pavilion for the Montreal Museum of Fine Art, and the J.-A.-De Sève Pavilion at the Université du Québec à Montréal.
The firm is also a member of the exclusive club of Canadian architectural firms with projects built abroad (Canadian embassy in Morocco; Diamond Peninsula Hotel in Dongguan, China; the race course gardens in Karachi, Pakistan; and MediCity, an ultramodern institute of integrated medical sciences and holistic therapy in Gurgaon, India).