Ooh, great article on the culture of preservation in Montreal.
Pst -Can someone tell us why there are so many Canadians named Bruno?
Aesthetics aside, however, the re-purposing and modernizing of historical buildings reflects a broad shift in the socioeconomic realities of city living.
In Montreal, the buildings targeted for adaptive re-use tend to be concentrated in previously industrial areas, such as the Old Port, the Lachine Canal and Griffintown—indicating a shift from manufacturing to a service-based economy.
Bruno Tremblay, an architect at Sid Lee, a Montreal-based design and architecture firm, has observed this transformation firsthand over the last twelve years he’s been in the industry.
“In places like Griffintown, you see a lot of industrial buildings with concrete structures, nice spans and nice height; they’re a good frame to work with to create condos or offices,” he said.
According to Tremblay, there is a growing number of activists who appreciate the historical value of old buildings and attempt to prevent developers from tearing them down.
The adaptive reuse movement in architecture is also indicative of the slowing of the suburban exodus. Tremblay explains that many once-abandoned buildings in Canadian cities are now seen as prime real estate.
“There are a lot of old buildings that get renovated into condos; you see a lot of people going back in the centre of cities instead of going to the banlieues.”