Faubourg des Récollets
Cité du multimedia de Montréal
Darling Brothers Foundry
Date: 1889, recycled in 2002
Address: 735, rue Ottawa
Architects: J.R. Gardiner, recycled by Atelier In Situ
Materials: brick, concrete, glass and rust
This building is the Quartier Éphémère’s (www.quartierephemere.org) multidisciplinary arts/culture space and the Cluny Art Bar.
Once woodland to the west of Old Montréal at the base of the hill leading to Montréal’s modern city centre, the Faubourg des Récollets has evolved several times over its history. The western gate of Old Montréal was in fact the Porte des Récollets located at Notre-Dame and McGill streets. Griffintown, was located south of des Récollets between rue William and the canal. The lower lying Griffintown often flooded before the construction of the Canal Lachine (1821-1825). During Montréal’s industrial revolution in the second half of the 19th century, the mainly Irish residents of Griffintown moved out of the sector as it was taken over by manufacturing and warehouses in proximity to the new Canal.
Up until the 1930’s Depression, the Faubouge des Récollets – Griffintown was the site of many manufacturers, foundries, warehouses, wholesalers, retailers and a few residents. From the Depression on, the area began its decline. In 1933, CN constructed the elevated railway link into the new Central Station (1938-1943). This ‘split’ the Faubourg des Récollets (east) from Griffintown (west). After the St-Lawrence seaway opened in 1950, the Canal Lachine slowly declined to finally close in 1968. The canal reopened for recreational use in 2002. Another contributor to ongoing decline of the area was the addition of the Autoroute Bonaventure in 1965 and later the Autoroute Ville-Marie to the north.
Since the mid-nineties, Montréal’s southern gate has experienced a renaissance starting with the dot-com boom resulting in the conversion of many of the old industrial spaces into lofts, studios and offices for high-tech companies. The Ville de Montréal created the Cité du multimédia (www.citemultimedia.com) in 1998 to encourage the regeneration of the neighbourhood where new buildings were also added to attract more information technology and multimedia firms.
In case you were wondering, Les Récollets were French missionaries arriving in New France around 1615. After the British Conquest of 1759 (Québec City) and 1760 (Montréal), the order was prohibited from recruiting and it disappeared by 1813. ‘Les Récollets’ are now known as the Franciscan Order, who are followers of Saint Francis of Assisi and choose to live in poverty. Their convent, cloister and garden were destroyed in 1818 and the church in 1867 to make room for warehouses during the industrial revolution. The neighbourhood is now a mix of large parking lots and residential and commercial buildings.
Following are a few photo highlights from a summertime stroll through the Cité du Multimédia in 2007.
Address: 111, rue Duke
Architects: Provencher Roy + Associés architectes / Cardinal Hardy et associés
Materials: glazed block, cast stone, galvanised steel, glass, stucco…
31, rue Duke (Ville de Montréal administration building)
Address: 31, rue Duke
Architects: Menkès Shooner Dagenais / Dupuis Le Tourneux
Materials: glass, concrete, aluminium and zinc
Nifty door in the back courtyard of 31, rue Duke off of rue Prince
Autodesk (Zone/Discreet Logic)
Date: recycled 1996-1997
Address: 10, rue Duke
Architect: recycled by Atelier In Situ
Materials: brick, concrete and steel
The building was originally J&R Weir Ltd Shipping & Receiving, a former factory for ship machinery. This recycled building set the lead for the future transformation of the la Cité du multimedia. The first owner of the recycled building was Richard Szalwinski’s Discreet Logic.
Residential Project (View of rear from rue Duke)
Address: rue Prince near Wellington
Address: 700, rue Wellington / 75, rue Queen
Architects: Lemay et Associés
Materials: brick, wood, concrete and glass
Habitation Nouvel Europa
Address: rue McGill at rue Des soeurs grises
Architects: les architectes Boutros + Pratte
Materials: brick, concrete, glass and zinc
Square des Frères-Charon
Address: rues McGill and Wellington
Architects: Affleck + de la Riva, architectes
Artist: Raphaëlle de Groot, artiste
Landscape: Robert Desjardins, architecte paysagiste