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.
Montreal City Hall in Quebec, Canada by Affleck de la Riva architects
March 17th, 2015 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: v2com
A national historic site, Montreal City Hall was one of the first monumental single-purpose city halls in Canada. Built between 1872 and 1878 after plans prepared by Hutchison & Perrault, the building was severely damaged by fire in 1922, leaving only its outer walls and destroying many of the city’s historic records. Commissioned to oversee reconstruction, the architect Louis Parent designed an entirely new building with a self-supporting steel structure erected inside the shell of the ruins. Inspired by the city hall of the French city of Tours, Parent re-modelled the mansard roof with a copper finish instead of the original slate tiles and completely restored the original limestone facades. With its dense and abundant use of ornamentation, Montreal City Hall is one of Canada’s finest examples of the Second Empire style.
The exterior restoration of this historic monument was undertaken following detailed site inspections and a careful evaluation of its iconic and heritage value. The restoration approach is based on the respectful recreation of the original artefact and the use of the same artisanal techniques employed in the construction of the original structure.
The mansard roof was stripped to its wooden deck and a new copper roof was installed using the same traditional materials, techniques and assemblies as the 1922 roof. Vegetal ornamentation in moulded copper that decorated the historic roof was recreated using plaster casts taken from original elements. The central campanile, an ornate thirty foot tower in moulded and sheet copper, was rebuilt in a workshop from the original architectural drawings and then lifted into place by a crane. Restoration of the limestone masonry was complicated by the effects of the 1922 fire. The original limestone walls survived the fire but calcination rendered them brittle and difficult to restore.
In order to mitigate the impact of three years of construction on a public building in continuous use, a canvas printed with a full scale photograph of the building was installed over the scaffolding. A common practice in European cities, this was the first time this strategy was employed in Canada.
The project is the recipient of numerous distinctions, including the OAQ Award of Excellence, the North American Copper in Architecture (New York) and the AMCQ Award of excellence.
Affleck de la Riva
Founded in 1995 by Gavin Affleck and Richard de la Riva and based in Montreal, Canada, Affleck de la Riva Architects believe that quality environmental design is an agent of social change and a key element in fostering citizenship, social equity, and healthy lifestyles. The firm provides services for the design and construction of institutional, commercial and residential projects and has also developed specific expertise in urban design and the restoration of historic structures.
For more than twenty years, through a wide range and scale of projects including research, competitions, and built work, Affleck de la Riva has been exploring the potential of history and landscape to generate contemporary architecture. An interest in the craft-based traditions of noble materials has led to a number of building restoration commissions, including several important historic monuments. One cannot build contemporary architecture without having assimilating the lessons of the past.
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