Post of the Week ; Article de la Semaine

Plans to demolish part of Maison Alcan and the old Armoury in the works.

In typically Montreal fashion, a new boring 30-storey glass tower might be built on the land where the 'new' Alcan complex on Stanley is (photo below). Local citizens had a few days to demand a referendum on it but the time has passed and no one showed up. If accepted, the Ville-Marie borough will green light the project on September 9.

The Alcan restoration project, from the 1980s, made a lot of news back then and was regarded as a great way of integrating the old buildings on Sherbrooke with a new structure, on Stanley. Now this award winning architectural project might be demolished for the new commercial tower. As sad as this is this is not the worst part. What's really bad is that the tower is way too tall for that area ; the Armoury on Drummond, where the whole building extends to Stanley, will be demolished, and the stunning Salvation Army citadel will be 'integrated', like the Alcan project, with the new boring tower.

Montreal really hates its history.

I want to keep this on top of the front page so I won't be posting anything else for the week.


Démolitions : une partie de la Maison Alcan et l'ancienne armurie quasiment approvées.

De facon typiquement Montréalaise, une nouvelle tour de vitre ennuyante de 30 étages pourra être construite sur le terrain où le 'nouveau' complexe Alcan sur Stanley est (photo ci-dessous). Les citoyens de l'arrondisment avaient quelques jours pour commencer un referendum sur le projet mais la date limite a passé et personne ne s'est présenté. Si accepté, l'arrondissement Ville-Marie va donné le feu vert pour le projet le 9 Septembre.

La restauration Alcan, à partir des années 1980, a fait beaucoup de nouvelles à l'époque et était considérée comme un excellent exemple d'intégration des anciens bâtiments sur Sherbrooke avec une nouvelle structure, sur Stanley. Si approuvé, ce projet architectural primé sera démoli pour faire place à cette nouvelle tour commerciale. Aussi triste que cela est ce n'est pas le pire. Ce qui est vraiment terrible est que la tour est démesurée pour cette zone; l'ancienne armurie sur la rue Drummond, qui se prolonge juste qu'à Stanley, sera démolie et la magnifique citadelle de l'Armée du Salut sera «intégrée», comme le projet Alcan, avec la nouvelle tour ennuyante.

Montréal déteste vraiment son histoire.

Je veux garder l'article au 'top' de la première page, donc je ne vais pas écrire d'autre chose pour la semaine

Maison Alcan

Red - Maison Alcan. To be demolished. Where the new tower will be built.
Green - the Salvation Army citadel. To be integrated with new tower.
Yellow - Armoury. To be demolished with only the facade intact (again!)

Rouge - Maison Alcan. Sera démoli. Ou la nouvelle tour sera construite.
Vert - la citadel de l'Armée du Salut. Intégrée à la nouvelle tour
Jaune - L'ancienne armurie. Sera démolie sauf la facade (et oui!)

Armoury on Drummond - L'Armurie, rue Drummond

Salvation Army citadel on Drummond - Citadelle de l'Armée du Salut, rue Drummond

The image below shows how the beautiful citadel will be 'integrated' to the boring new tower and how what's left of the Armoury will look like.
L'image ci-dessous montre comment la belle citadelle sera «intégrée» à la nouvelle tour ennuyante et comment le reste de l'ancienne armurie va ressembler.

What's so odd about this is I took these photos, my first of the general area, just before any of the news came out. I never bothered taking photos there because I thought they'd never touch the Alcan building, the Citadel and the Armoury. Well...I was wrong! I really must have a six sense for these things (or I might bring bad luck!). Many more photos at Flickr.
Ce qui est étrange à ce sujet c'est que je pris ces photos, mes premieres de cette zone, avant ce nouveau projet a fait les manchettes. Je n'ai jamais pris la peine de prendre des photos parce que je pensais qu'ils ne toucheront jamais la Maison Alcan, la Citadelle et l'armurie. Eh bien ... je me trompais! Je dois vraiment avoir un sixième sens pour ces choses (ou je porte malheur!) Plus de photos sur Flickr.


  1. This is what happens when big money talks and citizens remain silent. When there is no backlash to this kind of destruction, the powers that be think that anything goes. Lets gut the art museum and turn it into high end condos, Notre Dame will make an excellent Nordstroms dept store. If people are so apathetic that they cannot raise their voices against the destruction of their heritage and history, they will get what they deserve. A soulless and generic city full of glass towers that house nothing but rich foreigners money. Look at Vancouver if you wish to see your future.

  2. Hey, now - I'm a Montrealer who's been in Vancouver for more than 10 years and I had to say that as much as I don't like the idea of seas of condos and prices that are beyond ridiculous, I will concede that the condos (and a lot of the new build houses in established neighbourhoods) here look way more aesthetically pleasing than any of the condo buildings highlighted on this blog.

    'Montreal weather' isn't an excuse for all this horrible architectural design that now seems normal for Montreal, especially for new builds. I just don't get why so much of the new construction stuff is terrible and uninteresting and why local buyers seem to put up with it.

    On the other hand, I wouldn't be surprised that that may be a reason there seems to be so little public outcry. People have slowly come to be surrounded by new ugly buildings, they expect ugly, they get only ugly and with little choice, they end up having to buying ugly.

  3. Very sad this project was thrown out. The Davis and Salvation army tower additions in the 80's were ans still are horrible, and the Winter Club has nothing of value to preserve. i'm eager to see what Laliberté and Lune Rouge will be able to salvage and propose to add to the montreal skyline and the city's contemporary architecture.