The Ilot Balmoral is a 13-story mixed-use office building commissioned by the Societe d’Habitation de Montreal (SHDM). It lights up the Quartier des Spectacles in Downtown Montreal’s creative district as one of the final major developments in the area.
“We proposed four visions of what an office building specifically designed for a cultural economy could look like, and Ilot Balmoral was selected to echo the very vibrant, dynamic nature of the district,” said Architect Claude Provencher, founding partner at Provencher Roy. “The Quartier des Spectacles is a cultural center of activity that is now almost complete in its revitalization and transformation of the urban fabric surrounding Place des Arts.”
From the outside, Ilot Balmoral is an almost perfect cube. It is wrapped in glass covered in a white frit pattern that controls thermal heat gain. The façade of the building doubles as a screen that can have images projected onto it. Additionally, the glass allows natural daylight into the structure. These components helped the building meet LEED Gold sustainability standards.
Inside, the large red atrium curves diagonally through the center of the cube, creating an interior alleyway. This was to serve the site’s previous pedestrian flow, which moves between the Place des Arts metro station and Place des Festivals. The diagonal cut through the center of the building is marked on the outside by a red external fold visible against the smooth glass exterior. As a result, Ilot Balmoral looks to be a neighborhood unto itself, with interior passageways and a cohesive design that is simple and lovely at the same time.
Moreover, the National Film Board of Canada agreed to be the building’s core tenant in order to modernize their facilities. Provencher Roy redesigned four floors of Ilot Balmoral to meet the technical requirements of the new tenant, including editing rooms and the latest in film equipment. Meanwhile, the main stairway lights the way to the Film Board’s offices.
Also, pedestrian bridges connect the building’s interior offices with stunning views of the surrounding city. One side of the interior space is taller than the other, which features a green rooftop space for outdoor events. The building is a candidate for Gold LEED-NC Certification.
Photography by Stéphane Brügger