Project team:

Client: National Bank of Canada

Architecture: Architecture49 – Alexandre Sauvé (lead architect),
Alexandre Landry (design architect), Nicoleta Dan-Ferenta (project
manager), Pierre Baillargeon (supervising architect), Louis-Pierre
Hubert (site supervisor);

Associate architect: Robert LaPierre

Lighting design: Ombrages (formerly Éclairage Public);

Engineers: Bouthillette Parizeau (m/e); NCK (structural)

Products applied:
Lighting: Lumenpulse (fixtures); Lutron (controls)
Glass partitions: Muraflex

18. Oct 2017

Revitalisation of a trading floor in an historic setting in Montreal/CA.

Text: Jo-Eike Vormittag
Photos: Stéphane Brügger

The board members of the National Bank of Canada must be heaving a sigh of relief. Their original scepticism towards any kind of modernisation of the former dull-looking trading floor in their offices in the historic Sun Life Building in the centre of the City of Montreal, Quebec/CA reigned supreme for a long time. In fact, it looked as if there was a greater chance they would move to another building rather than embark on a renovation project. The bottom line today does indeed look quite different from what they – or anyone – expected. A team of architects and lighting specialists were ultimately commissioned to revitalise the spacious work environment, which accommodates almost 260 traders and managers. And hugely successful they were too, as the result shows.

It had been 20 years since the trading floor had witnessed any form of renovation. Its design was accordingly out of date, the lighting design left much to be desired for various reasons, and the working atmosphere was inappropriate to the state of being dark and uncomfortable. The Board of Directors at the bank felt compelled to react: plan to move to a completely different building or undertake architectural and design measures to amend the situation. The 24-storey office building dates back to 1913, at least this is when work was begun on it. Completion was in 1931, after three phases of construction, when the final floor was added.

The trading floor is located in the eastern section, which was part of the second construction phase from 1923 to 1926. The trading floor features high-quality materials and special architectural elements: columns, marble cladding on the walls, a ceiling lavishly decorated with gold leaf and a large skylight.

Despite these rich details, the exceptional heritage space remained unspectacular, and uncomfortable. With the goal of realising a “subtle intervention” out of respect for the protected historic building fabric, the architects and designers accepted the conditions and the challenge to create a bright, friendly, comfortable and technically modern place of work in which typical lively stock-exchange floor trading activities can be pursued in future. Undertaking any form of modernisation in existing historic architecture can be challenging in many respects. Also when it comes to the lighting design.

The full version of the article can be found in PLD No. 106 as well as in our PLD magazine app (iPad App Store).


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