HEC Montreal, designed by Provencher_Roy, is a partnership between Montreal’s business community and local students and researchers. The certified LEED Gold center is located at the intersection of the Quartier des Affaires, Quartier des Spectacles and the Quartier International on a historic site of Canada. HEC Montreal aims to be a hub of exchange through collaborative programs for academics and business leaders working together.

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The HEC is a large structure that juts out at the top sits alight during evening time

HEC Montreal was previously located in Downtown Montreal back when it opened in 1907. The associated student base grew 64% in the last few years, leading to the need for larger building space for professional development courses, research in AI and conferences. The new HEC Montreal building is returns to Downtown Montreal but now will be 24,000 square meters, revolving around two circular axes that converge on a central atrium five stories high and topped with skylights.

Related: Multifunctional award-winning site built on underused land

A large boxy building sits across a tree and church area

“The design arises from the unique geographic and urban qualities of Montréal, embracing the characteristics of this city built on a mountain to create a building eminently of its place,” said Provencher_Roy.

Inside the structure it is white with multiple floors filled with a glass ceiling

Pedestrian pathways throughout the building have an elevation change of 10 meters across the building. It links the building to the green spaces of the site on all sides. The center is designed to function as an open meeting space and can be accessed from all sides.

An open hallway with a wall full of glass windows and people walking about inside the hallway

“We started in the downtown core, and we are thrilled to return to our roots,” said Federico Pasin, director of HEC Montreal. “We wanted to be closer to our business community. Our clientele includes young students, fresh out of CEGEP, as well as professionals who work during the day and study for their certificate, DESS or MBA at night. Establishing ourselves downtown allows us to better serve the latter.” 

The building’s design follows three core principles: dynamism, lightness and respect for the historic site. Most of the green spaces from the original site has been preserved with a landscaped park that connects with the forecourt of the basilica next door. The green space highlights the history of the ruined St. Bridget’s Refuge, a shelter for Irish women in the 1860s, by tracing its foundation and rebuilding the ruins of its exterior walls.

A sketch of the boxy building as it sits across from an area full of trees

Additionally, one side of the building is shorter than the rest to allow for views of the historic park. Meanwhile, the west side of the building features a dramatic entrance with v-shaped walls that carve out an entry court. The outside entrance also includes covered public meeting areas for members of the community to engage with the building.

A sketch of different buildings forming a cityscape

The new HEC Montreal center will include 27 classrooms, a 300-seat auditorium and a center for events and lectures. There will also be a public library, lounge, café and indoor garden for members of the community to enjoy.

A sketch of a boxy building on the left with a pathway in front of it

Furthermore, lower levels host most of the meeting areas, while upper floors house classrooms and offices. The northwest wing includes a research center for collaboration between business leaders and academics. Construction on the HEC Montreal is expected to begin in 2022.

+ Provencher_Roy

Images via Provencher_Roy