By : Linebox Studio
GRANDS PRIX DU DESIGN – 16th edition
Discipline : Architecture : Grand Winner
Categories : Residential Building / Apartment & Condo of 5 to 9 storeys : Gold Certification
Categories : Special Award / Architecture + Light : Silver Certification
St.Charles Market is an 8 storey, mixed use condominium development that embodies connectivity and creates a destination for the surrounding communities and visitors from afar. The heart of the development is the historic St.Charles Church which has been an important community hub for over 100 years. Reimagining the purpose of the church building while respecting its heritage and connection with the community are at the core of the architecture and design.
Wrapping around this beacon and its large public courtyard are 55 “horizontal homes” including 3 townhomes and 4 penthouses. The design is forward thinking while also considerate to key elements of the historic church. The mathematical proportions of the church’s original design were used in the new building and special artistic elements such as the stained glass and the rosette window are incorporated in the new design. Ties to the original church building are also evident in the material selection, specifically the terracotta tiles cladding the exterior of the new building. This unconventional cladding complements the church’s brown brick without competing with it. The units themselves are large and intended to comfortably replace the needs of a single-family dwelling, hence “horizontal homes”. This project adds density to an urban neighbourhood in a very liveable manner.
The repeated rosette “stamp” on the balcony railings in the condo units is a direct replica of the the large, circular stained glass window below the bell tower and above the main entrance of the church. The original window was back-lit at night and along with the illuminated cross above the bell tower, acted as a beacon for the community. Community members often conveyed how important this church beacon was to them either as way-finding point in their neighbourhood or a comforting glow seen from their living rooms.
The Starry Night Wall creates a twinkling backdrop for the former St.Charles Church and it provides a stunning artistic element above its large, public courtyard. The north-facing exterior wall of the new building envelops the church and quite literally shines a light on the heritage building. Again, the principal design challenge was to create a design that simultaneously complements and celebrates the church without competing with it. It was also crucial for the architecture of the new building to exist in its own right and retain its own particular distinction and character. The Starry Night Wall addresses these design challenges and adds a beautiful element of whimsy through thoughtful architecture. Clad in large, rectangular terracotta tiles and perforated by a number of windows, back-lit glass, and tiny spotlights, the Starry Night Wall provides the perfect backdrop for the church. At dusk and into the evening, the soft glow of the lights draws people into the public courtyard. Inside the building, the seemingly random windows provide light and interest along the long, single-loaded corridors. Walking through the hallways permits impressive snapshot views of the church. The interior wall of the residential units along the west-facing have the Starry Night Wall inside their units providing the same elements of light, shadows, and fun. The calculated mix of windows and back-lit glass address Building Code and life-safety standards in an intelligent and beautiful way. The Starry Night Wall is an architectural design element that is enjoyed by both residents and visitors in the public realm.