By : L. McComber
GRANDS PRIX DU DESIGN – 16th edition
Discipline : Architecture
Categories : Residential Building / Multi-unit Housing ≤ 4 storeys : Silver Certification
In the Rosemont neighborhood of Montreal, two through lots were divided into four to create two identical duplexes, four two-story units for four families. The architects were able to find a solution to build quality living spaces on shallow lots by stacking two two-story units on each lot. The front facades of each duplex are orange brick on the first two floors, topped by a recessed metal clad volume on the third, creating a play of recesses of varying widths that accentuate the verticality and emphasize the regular alignment of generous openings. The entrances have wide staircases, inviting neighbors to stroll as much as to talk.
At the rear of each building is a courtyard overhung by a large balcony that provides each family with an outdoor space to bask in the trees. Inside, a service block organizes circulation and ensures a proper separation between spaces. The duplexes were built on a portion of a former through lot that ran from Avenue Jeanne-D’Arc to Avenue Charlemagne, near the Botanical Gardens. The pale metal cladding on the top level allows it to blend into the sky, lessening the impact on the neighborhood.
The units offer versatile rooms, abundant light, unobstructed views, high ceilings, terraces and balconies. Each family enjoys nearly 1900 feet of living space, the equivalent of a small townhouse. An oak-paneled service block divides the common areas without obstructing traffic flow. The architects used the same process in all the units to save space and opt for high-quality materials in the bathrooms.
The Les Répliques duplexes are a fine example of happy densification, which has helped to energize an already vibrant area of Rosemont. In the context of scarce housing in the city, it reduces urban sprawl and protects the last natural environments of Greater Montreal. The inhabitants of these homes enjoy a superior quality of life, thanks to a well thought-out architecture, where nothing is left to chance.