Provencher_Roy has designed the new campus for HEC Montreal. Designed to meet the expanding needs of students and professors while consolidating ties with the business community, the new building is an up-to-date model for academic exchange and sustainable development.
The 24,000 m2 contemporary intervention set within a contrasting urban fabric, delicately and respectfully juxtaposed with the heritage site and its green environment. Located next to the Saint Patrick's Basilica, the campus is at an important downtown junction and acts as a public plaza for professionals and students.
The design team was faced with a singular topography characterized by a marked change in elevation of 9 to 10 metres and constraints governing the urban insertion. The building's insertion has been analyzed with a broad perspective that includes the Saint Patrick's Basilica. This approach has made it possible to forge a respectful bond between the sacred and the profane and to emphasize the site's rich heritage.
The morphology and treatment of the new building's facades produce two distinct characters, corresponding to the site's two opposite faces. On one side, the facades are in dialogue with the urban panorama: Inserted into the existing built environment, they are integrated into the overarching orthogonality of the site and establish their presence through coverings that espouse the architectural idiom of the vicinity: glass, metal and masonry, in an array of clear colors. They are comprised of horizontal layers that ensure their harmonious juxtaposition alongside the neighboring facades.
On the side looking out onto the basilica and the park, the facades are characterized by a more organic aspect and a fluid insertion, presenting a light, gleaming visage comprised of diverse fenestration in shades of white. At ground level, the building opens up thanks to wide, slender fenestration that offers multiple views and energizes and enlivens the site.
The lower levels house the meeting and gathering functions and are easily accessible from each of the building's three main entrances. Immediately above are the floors with the classrooms, thus concentrating a significant number of users at the building's base. The upper levels are reserved for administrative functions and meeting rooms. The research centre takes up the northwest wing; its ground floor features spaces dedicated to collaborative work, a genuine showcase for HEC Montréal's innovation and vitality. Finally, an atrium window in the centre of the building provides natural illumination that serves as the building's DNA.