Architecture with Montréal touch
In the intimate atmosphere of the library at the Canadian Centre for Architecture, where Phyllis Lambert is hosting her colleagues,the three architects chat enthusiastically. They’ve just met for the second time. The first time they met was in 2015, when Hubert Pelletier and Yves de Fontenay won the Phyllis Lambert Scholarship awarded by Montréal’s Bureau du design.
For the love of Montréal
For these young architects, both just under 40, it is a privilege to be able to talk with someone who for them is an icon of Montréal architecture. At age 90, the founder of the Canadian Centre for Architecture is as alert and energetic, and her love for Montréal is as strong, as ever.
“Montréal is a very surprising city. Its history is in its buildings, which have been influenced by francophones, anglophones and now allophones. There’s a consistency, a continuity of character. People in all areas get involved in managing and creating the city. That’s Montréal’s strength,” said Lambert.
According to the architects, there are more links than ever between neighbour-hoods, Old Montréal and downtown. This momentum is due to major projects such as the Quartier international or the Place des festivals, which have been carefully planned and executed in cooperation with the community.
Up-and-coming architects like Pelletierand de Fontenay are also helping to create ties between neighbourhoods, people and their history.
“Young architects don’t often have access to commissions for public buildings,” said de Fontenay, “but they do a lot of work in residential architecture. We primarily do interiors, additions or small homes. We’re interested in history, in continuity or discontinuity of architectural styles and materials. It’s basic work that improves built heritage across the city.”
Opening to the world
When they imagine the future of Montréal, the three architects see a more open city that exports its architects and hosts architects from abroad. They also want more democracy and more urban planning.
“The city is people. You must take them and all the elements that you’re putting into a neighbourhood into account,” said Lambert.
Lambert advises her young colleagues to keep their freedom of thought no matter what.
“In architecture, as in any other field, you’ve got to see beyond yourself,” said the patron, who has dedicated her life to protecting Montréal’s built heritage.