Recently awarded at the Grands Prix du Design, category "common area", this LEED silver expansion project offers a new everyday life at the CSN's head office, thus improving the quality of life of users and residents of the neighbourhood.
Located in the Ville-Marie district, east of the Jacques-Cartier Bridge, the head office of the CSN (Confédération des syndicats nationaux), a brutalist building from the early 80s, wanted to get rid of its heavy and severe image. This image has been transformed through a redevelopment and an expansion amplifying the aesthetics of the building and its impact on the neighbourhood, while preserving its essence, its identity. The entire project is inspired and anchored in the continuity of the values of the CSN: autonomy, freedom, solidarity.
The expansion project is designed to enhance the architectural and social landscape of the area. A large volume of colour develops in continuity with the existing building, but now more freely, expressing diversity, complementarity and unity. A new garden completes the development of the site and offers users and residents of the neighbourhood, a real area of relaxation and exchange.
At the heart of the architectural concept is the symbiosis of two volumes, one of wood, the other of steel, blending harmoniously in a vast atrium bathed in natural light. A true metaphor of the public space, at once free, luminous and unifying, this grandiose place acts as a strong link; uniting the existing building with its expansion, as well as the different members of the confederation. The offices are all located at the perimeter of the enlarged volume and around this atrium lined with passageways and crossed bridges. On the ground floor and on the garden level are the common functions: the meeting rooms, the cafeteria, the multifunctional room, the bookshop and the library. The "circular" floor plan offers great flexibility that will allow the growth or decline of the different federations over the years.
Wood, concrete and steel were used to express the know-how of local and regional industries, represented by CSN unions. The atrium was designed to highlight these raw materials. In particular, wood is the predominant element of this project, since it is associated with the collective spaces of the building; these places, highly symbolic for the Confederation, unite its different members and gather them around the same mission. The careful use of wood allows emphasis to be placed on these spaces of sharing; including the atrium, the cafeteria and multifunctional rooms. Combined with concrete and steel, finely worked wood enhances the aesthetics of these collective spaces and represents the wealth of know-how of the workers, recalling the essence of the CSN. The different types of wood chosen for the design of the project all come from local and regional industries represented by the Confederation's trade unions. Maple was the main type of wood used in various ornamental applications for its colour, strength and identity.
BGLA has been specializing for more than 40 years in the fields of architecture, heritage and urban design, and now has three business offices in Montreal, Quebec City and Sept-Îles, with a large team of more than 70 employees. BGLA has a diversified experience on projects of all sizes, mainly in the institutional (teaching and health), cultural and community fields. BGLA's architectural approach is sensitive to the protection of the built environment and its historical and social context. Recognized for its interventions that are respectful to both the buildings and their constructive processes, BGLA is concerned with the valorization of the natural and cultural heritage of each place. The firm also favours the development of local materials, with wood occupying a predominant place in most of its achievements, both in terms of structure and finishes.
About NEUF architect(e)s
NEUF architect(e)s is a team of creative professionals who have been contributing to Canada’s built environment for nearly 50 years. Active in all sectors, including strategic planning, urban design, institutional, resorts and hotels, residential, interiors, commercial, industrial and office buildings, the firm specializes in finding creative solutions to today’s most challenging design problems. With offices in Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto, NEUF architect(e)s has grown into one of the most diversified architecture and design practices in the country. Over the years, NEUF has completed hundreds of projects, including landmarks such as the CBC Headquarters in Ottawa, Bombardier facilities in Mirabel and Dorval, and many of the towers animating our cities’ skylines, including its key role in the newly completed CHUM super-hospital. Recipient of multiple design awards - including recent wins at the World Architecture Festival in Berlin and Amsterdam - NEUF architect(e)s is currently involved in projects across the Americas, Europe and Asia.