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Art history Montreal city: Palais des Congres de Montreal Research Paper


Introduction

It is one of the new architectural symbols in Montreal that have gained a worldwide-prolonged applause. Major travel guides the likes of Lonely Planet, Ullysse and Hachette have chosen the building’s multicolored glass as well as the pink-lipstick forest as covers for their recent issues.

Other tourism articles have recommended visiting the building for a personal experience of the major architectural wonders existing in the Montreal city. I can attest to the fact that the visit is actually worthwhile.

The Palais des congres de Montreal is an exhibition centre holding exhibition each year1, situated in Quartier international de Montreal towards the Northern end of Old Montreal in the district of Ville-Marie in Montreal. It seems the building was named after its principle owner whose name is Palais de congres de Montreal2.

It uses the design of the small number of stone buildings by using limestone that is laid in bands like them. The translucent glass allows the internal to absorb light inconspicuously. Its address is 159; rue Saint-Antoine Quest, 9th floor, Montreal (Quebec), QC H2Z 1H2. Its neighboring buildings are the Place Jean-Paul Riopelle, Victoria square and Place de la Cite international buildings.

The original work was done by a ‘neo-brutalist’ in the name of Victor Prus who built the Palais in 19803 and was inaugurated in May 19834. It underwent an expansion between 1999 and 2002 through which its capacity in doubled to 93,000 square meters.

The new architecture repaired the urban outlook to provide a ground level public for commercial purposes as well as a pedestrian and transportation link. However, the expansion used a similar design as its original 1980’s except that it has less concrete and more glasses.

The new design, to a great extent, integrated well with its surroundings. From its current location, Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International airport is just 20 kilometers away.

The building occupies an area of 200,000 square ft and it has 65 conference rooms as well as 18 loading docks, (fig. 1). The vertical panels are 1.5 meter by 3.6 meter. The expansion of the building was designed by a combination of architects i.e. Tetreault, Dubuc, Saiat and Hal Ingberg architects, whose design won the local design competition conducted for the same purpose.

Hal Ingberg has earned himself an enviable reputation as among Canadian’s best architects for designing buildings. His unique knowledge on the potential abilities of glass to bring out unimaginable examination of space, the tinge brought by multiple colors, transparency and reflection has been greatly lauded.

The modification resulted into Canada’s most remarkable work of art with very promising architectural statements. The total area of expansion is 110,000 square meters while the total area restoration is 100,000 square meters. The leading design architect was Mario Saia and the main project architect was Michael Languedoc.

The work was performed by a project group of about 20 project members. The structural engineer was Dessau-Soprin while the mechanical engineer was Pageu Morel et associes, Genivar. The landscape architect was Claude Cormier Architects Paysagistes and the contracting group was Gespro, BFC, Divco.

Experience

The Palais unique design is characterized by a rainbow of colored glass panels in the exterior and transparent glass panels in the interior that fills it with an atmosphere that is both luminous and energizing. Its multifunctional design enables it to host large-scale conventions and stage exhibitions simultaneously and that makes it the most popular amongst event holders.

As opposed to other like buildings in North America, the Palais welcomes you with a warm and friendly atmosphere, which represents the city,’s Latin flavor as well as the nature of the inhabitants of the city themselves. It makes you feel that you are at the right place, where you should be.

When the sunrays strike the multicolored outer lay, it reflects a kaleidoscope of colors (fig. 2) which results into a memorable moment of an intense feeling. The space coloration is changed in a continuous pattern as the sun’s angle changes all day through creating a harmonious rhythm of mixture of colors and feelings. Looking through the chartreuse, pink and blue lenses, it instantly creates a lasting impression in your mind.

When viewed from the outside, the wall looks carnivalesque resulting from the reflection of the brightly colored curtains but from the inside, the sunrays coming though the multicolored wall takes your breath away. The dramatic size and position of the wall causes the interior spaces; walls, staircases, floors as well as escalators to continuously swaddle in vibrant hues of red, green, yellow and blue.

The Palais design connection of the exterior and interior spaces with glass brings out a unique twist in it, not commonly found in modern architecture. The skins colorful membrane diminishes any sense of opacity by its failure to create a condition of continuity between each sphere and as a result produces parallel spatial worlds.

As you enter, what meets your eye is an L shaped design, which has been formed by the meeting of the pedestrian shopping centre and the Hall Bleury. This further has three divisions of conceptual rings, which forms the main structure and the central organization of the interiors.

The outer layer of the ring are used for commercial activity, while the resulting inward curves are used as loading docks, bus stations, trump ramps and other services.

Between the rings, there are two pedestrian passageways, which connects the Old city to the now modern Montreal, link that had previously been separated by the expressway. Inside is a beehive of activities with since it is occupied by many individuals some as staff and others as hotel visitors. Yet in all that, it does not show any signs of chaos and disorganization.

The side along the Rue de Bluery grabs your attention from the fineness of the glass walls. In this side, it is just a storey shorter in height than the other like buildings in the neighboring.

The doorways are covered with cantilevered translucent canopies of glass, (fig. 3). The insides of the glass walls are illuminated making them glow at night, (fig. 4). The Hall Bleury contains various conference rooms and exhibition halls and hosts major public forums.

The rue Viger escalator slowly hovers along the edge of the sidewalk, a passageway for the pedestrian. Above the passageway, there is a curtain wall that is horizontally marked by mullions emerging seamlessly from the existing building’s nose. Where the old and the new buildings meet, is a powerful urban maker which affords a beautiful view from rue Saint-Catherine.

The elevation in rue Saint-Antoine is a transparent base of busy commercial space which supports an opaque middle of rafter slabs which are multi-tone grey. By using this kind of stone, it helps identify the new Montreal with the ancient one since this is where it was found in large quantity5.

While the elongated dimensions, textures and the deeper detailing gives it its look of contemporary construction. the corner at Saint-Antoine contains a translucent glass box illumination and encompasses the full round space of the conference rooms. This corner hangs over the angled wall that is the commercial space below.

On the interior, the yellow color is absorbed by the by the excessively shiny dark flooring. One gets a clear outlook of space along Viger Street at the upper level. A shiny finishing is evident supported by a framework made of steel. Escalators move up and down along this path, (fig. 5). The inside west façade portrays a clear yellow shiny area which gives it a serene feeling.

The winter garden in the building, occupying a service area of 700 square meters (0.2 acres), is nothing short of genius art by the Canadian Society of Landscape architects. It has a forest of concrete trees which are painted lipstick pink which was done to complement the city’s booming cosmetic industry and portray the city’s inexhaustible creativity and innovation.

It adopts the pattern of the hundred-year old maples lining the city’s avenues6, (fig. 6) and it is perfectly designed in such a manner that it will remain unaffected by future environmental changes. The well-carved trunks of tree hang between the concrete slabs of the ground floor and the ceiling. This is a symbol of real nature in the modern world.

The combination of the typically 1970’s architectural original work and the recent 2000-2002 expansion work of the building, the Palais is an acknowledgment of architectural cohesion, with a combination of the colorful luminescent glass and the permanence of stone. It integrates with brilliant success three centuries of historical design bringing in traces of the old city7.

Conclusion

The Palais offers an exceptional venue for conventions. It is an authentic center where the city’s major attractions meet. It brings together the city’s business centre, arts and entertainment district, international district, Old Montreal as well as Chinatown. It provides a naturally lit environment that magically integrates form and functionality especially for event organizers.

This is coupled with the fact that its showrooms are of huge size to accommodate large number of people. With this, it is able to generate major economic spin-offs for the growth of Quebec and has fruitfully contributed to sharing of knowledge through the conferences not to mention enhancing the city’s international image as a first class destination.

Since it stated operating in 2003, the new building has been witnessing large number of visitors while enjoying enthusiastic comments from the architectural international community as well as the general public8.

The reason the design has been so successful is because it focused on one objective and it worked towards achieving it, which it did. It sends a message to all Montreal’s and international community alike that the city is dedicated to provide a center for exchange of knowledge and skills and ideas for developing international agreements and partnerships.

By September 2005, the project for the expansion of the building had received 22 awards from thirteen different spheres such as the 2005 PMI Project of the Year in Philadelphia. The success of the project played an important part in the making of the decision by the World Anti-Doping Agency as well as International Design Alliance to move their offices to Montreal.

The IATA and ICAO among other major international organizations also have their offices in this great city. Various major events are held in the convention centre such as the Montreal International Show that attracts around 200,000 people annually. It also hosted the United Nations Climate Change Conference in 2005 and in 2009, it hosted the 67th World Science Fiction Convention9.

The building was awarded BOMA Best environmental certificate10 for being the best in preserving the environment through its artificial pink-lipstick forest and choosing to ‘go green’. Inside the building, the staff is very attentive and offers personalized planning services with a very well developed technology and ecoresponsible options that makes people want to have their events there.

Despite its age, the Palais has continued to be the most magnificent architectural building of its kind. I have always seen it from outside without touring most of its interiors. After a thorough journey throughout the building, I have realized that its beautiful and colorful exteriors, do not even begin to describe the building.

A careful analysis of the interiors tells you all you want to know about architectural creativity and art. With the new improvements, it is almost like a dream that something so exquisite could exist in the physical world. The artificial pink-lipstick forest is a sight to behold. Everyone should make a point of making a stop at one of the city’s largest buildings.

References

Ambassador’s Club. The Palais des Congres de Montreal: Architecture, 27th July 2011

Artifice. Inc. Unconventionally Colorful, Architecture Week, Design Department, April 2007

Architectural Glazing Project Profile, December 2003, Publication No. 24599944.

Boake, Terri Meyer. Image Gallery: Palais des Congres de Montreal, Quebec, February 2007

Carrier, S. Jean. Palais des Congres de Montreal: Nearby Images in Montreal, February, 2009

Cormier, Claude. Lipstick Forest: Winter Garden at the Palais des Congres de Montreal, Landscape Architecture and Urban Design, July 2011

Demelt, Annie. Aliens Have Invaded Montreal for the 67th Annual World Fiction Convention, August 2009, CTV.ca

Dona, Montreal: The Top 8 Reasons to Go – From Hippy Fest to Foodies, TravelsWithHeart, August 2011.

Flickr®. Palais des Congres de Montreal, October 2010

Ingberg. Hal, Expansion of the Palais des Congres de Montreal, Competition Laureate, 1999

Vanceva®. Laminated Glass Takes Centre Stage; At Palais Des Congres in Montreal,

Footnotes

1 Carrier, S. Jean, Palais des Congres de Montreal: Nearby Images in Montreal, February, 2009

2Boake, Terri Meyer, Image Gallery: Palais des Congres de Montreal, Quebec, February 2007

3 Artifice. Inc, Unconventionally Colorful, Architecture Week, Design Department, April 2007, Para. 3

4 Flickr®, Palais des Congres de Montreal, October 2010

5 Ingberg, Hal, Expansion of the Palais des Congres de Montreal, Competition Laureate, 1999

6 Cormier, Claude, Lipstick Forest: Winter Garden at the Palais des Congres de Montreal, Landscape Architecture and Urban Design, July 2011

7 Ambassador’s Club, The Palais des Congres de Montreal: Architecture, 27th July 2011

8 Vanceva®, Laminated Glass Takes Centre Stage; At Palais Des Congres in Montreal, Architectural Glazing Project Profile, Para. 7, December 2003, Publication No. 24599944.

9 Demelt, Annie, Aliens Have Invaded Montreal for the 67th Annual World Fiction Convention, August 2009, CTV.ca

10 Dona, Montreal: The Top 8 Reasons to Go – From Hippy Fest to Foodies, TravelsWithHeart, August 2011

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IvyPanda. (2019, December 18). Art history Montreal city: Palais des Congres de Montreal. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/art-history-montreal-city-palais-des-congres-de-montreal-research-paper/

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"Art history Montreal city: Palais des Congres de Montreal." IvyPanda, 18 Dec. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/art-history-montreal-city-palais-des-congres-de-montreal-research-paper/.

1. IvyPanda. "Art history Montreal city: Palais des Congres de Montreal." December 18, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/art-history-montreal-city-palais-des-congres-de-montreal-research-paper/.


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IvyPanda. "Art history Montreal city: Palais des Congres de Montreal." December 18, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/art-history-montreal-city-palais-des-congres-de-montreal-research-paper/.

References

IvyPanda. 2019. "Art history Montreal city: Palais des Congres de Montreal." December 18, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/art-history-montreal-city-palais-des-congres-de-montreal-research-paper/.

References

IvyPanda. (2019) 'Art history Montreal city: Palais des Congres de Montreal'. 18 December.

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