Complied by Leah Linhares
Photography: Adrien Williams;courtesy V2com
Read Time: 2 mins
Ar. Henri Cleinge’s modern interior wrapped in traditional architecture makes a lasting impression on the eyes…
Situated inside what used to be the old Royal Bank on St-Jacques Street in Old Montreal, Ar. Henri Cleinge’s adaptive reuse project is a 12,000 sq. ft. office area for a tech start-up, Crew Collective, facilitated with conference rooms and a café that can be accessed by both, freelance workers as well as the public.
True to his philosophy, Cleinge’s design focuses on respecting the simplicity and essence of the original structure, while introducing a modern twist.
The 1926 building contained remarkable crafted elements like inlay marble floor, an ornate painted plaster ceiling, custom suspended brass light fixtures and other brass elements that offered a great design opportunity. Confronted with this rich and textured background and two distinct design challenges – how to elaborate an architectural relationship and construct boundaries between the various program functions; and secondly, how to approach design in the context of a heritage building - the new design incorporated subtle contemporary interventions within this heritage ambiance in the form of brass-plated steel throughout, fixed to boxy minimal enclosures, in order to dialogue and contrast the existing ornate brass elements.
The design also ensures fluidity between the various work spaces while creating transparent boundaries between the various programs by erecting a complex series of glass walls between these various areas with a defined access to reflect the degree of permanency for each worker group. Part of the floor area is designated for permanent Crew employees, while other areas are made accessible to freelance workers and the public; the environment made conducive to possible interactions between permanent and temporary workers.
The existing bank teller stands from the old Royal Bank are not removed; instead, used as a natural border between the café space and the conference rooms, thus defining the more public spaces from the work area.
The new design remains a kind of a secondary feature, allowing the original building to predominate; a means to give people a chance to appreciate the new intervention.