The history of civilisations and cities are intrinsically tied to the presence of water. Ancient civilisations grew up in fertile river valleys and the development of cities depended on the ready availability of water for both potable use and public sanitation. The infrastructure used to control and distribute water in the urban environment has a long and distinguished architectural history.
The Lasalle Waterworks Building is located on the banks of the Saint Lawrence River at the entrance of the Montreal Aqueduct, the source of the city’s drinking water. Sited in a broad waterfront park, the project includes three structures – a historic Spanish Colonial pump-house dating from 1923, a 1975 addition to this structure, and a new addition housing an air-filtering device. Using an integrated landscape strategy to create links between these disparate components, the project engages the waterfront park as a comprehensive whole.
An elliptical berm composed of excavation material is superimposed around all three structures to create a conceptual cradle for the scheme. Secondary elliptical pods organise existing landscape features including two groves of mature trees. The new addition, located at the center of the berm, also assumes an elliptical form – in this case an extruded ellipse that permits the development of the new program beneath a green roof.
The restoration and renovation of the first two structures consolidates the material palette of the Spanish Colonial pump house – white stucco and terra-cotta roofs – and the extruded ellipse of the new addition, in textured red brick, picks up on the terracotta roof of the 1923 structure.
The project’s emphasis on the landscape as a unifying medium has important technical dimensions. The project is a LEED certified initiative that uses indigenous plants, natural collection and treatment of surface water and various green energy strategies including geothermal heating and photovoltaic solar collectors. The project was a finalist for an Award of excellence from the Order of Architects of Quebec in 2013.
Data Sheet of the project
Official name of the project: LaSalle Waterworks Building
Type of project : nstitutional, infrastructure
Location : Corner of LaSalle Blvd. and 75th Avenue, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Client : City of Montreal
Project manager : Gavin Affleck
Design architect : Gavin Affleck
Project team : Steven Leather, Brigitte Boudreau, Alexandre Cassiani, Federico Carbajal,
Serge Gascon and Melanie Morris
Landscape architect : CIMA + (Alain Bourassa)
Civil, structural, mechanical
and electrical engineers : AXOR Experts conseils
Budget : 5 100 000 $CA
Area of project : 4 850 ft2 / 450 m2
Project end date: 2012
Awards : 2013 OAQ Award of Excellence in Architecture, Finalist
The firm: Affleck de la Riva
Founded in 1995 by Gavin Affleck and Richard de la Riva and based in Montreal, Canada, Affleck de la Riva Architects believe that quality environmental design is an agent of social change and a key element in fostering citizenship, social equity, and healthy lifestyles. The firm provides services for the design and construction of institutional, commercial and residential projects and has also developed specific expertise in urban design and the restoration of historic structures.
For more than twenty years, through a wide range and scale of projects including research, competitions, and built work, Affleck de la Riva has been exploring the potential of history and landscape to generate contemporary architecture. An interest in the craft-based traditions of noble materials has led to a number of building restoration commissions, including several important historic monuments. One cannot build contemporary architecture without having assimilating the lessons of the past.
The quality of Affleck de la Riva’s work has been recognized by numerous international publications (France, England, United States, Spain, China, Romania, South Korea, Turkey, etc.) and invitations to lecture in Europe and across North America. The firm is the recipient of more than a dozen professional distinctions including first prize awards in three open architectural competitions, a Governor General of Canada Award, two Awards of Excellence from the Order of Architects of Quebec, and an Award of Excellence from the Canadian Architect magazine.
Gavin Affleck and Richard de la Riva are active members of Canada’s architectural community. They have taught at schools of architecture across the country and contributed to numerous committees and organisations.