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Found 23 results

  1. The fine Montreal art of being happy with what you have ARTHUR KAPTAINIS, The Gazette Published: Saturday, August 18 Almost everything was wonderful last Saturday - the weather, the music, the charity, the skyline. The sound? Well, what do you want? Percival Molson Stadium was built for football, not for music. There might be room for sonic improvement next summer, if I may jump to the reasonable conclusion that a concert by the Montreal Symphony Orchestra under the auspices of the Montreal Alouettes, with or without Kent Nagano, is now an annual event. One point of departure would be a shell that projects sound rather than a tent that contains it. Of course, there are certain sonic variables beyond the control of the MSO or the Als. The Royal Victoria Hospital is nearby, with its mamoth ventilation units. A two-hour shutdown of hospital air conditioning would be very nice, but perhaps too much to ask. Imperfect Acoustics: Kent Nagano and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra in last weekend's charity concert in Molson Stadium. While I mused over the problems and possible solutions it occurred to me that Montreal does not have a good, permanent outdoor summer concert facility. It is an odd situation considering that the city appears to experience more outdoor summer concerts than any other city on Earth. Where to install it? There is a mountain and a Chalet, the esplanade of which is haunted by ghosts as formidable as Leonard Bernstein, who conducted the MSO there in 1944 and 1945. In the 1950s Alexander Brott developed a rival operation called Dominion Concerts under the Stars. To build an amphitheatre anywhere on the mountain, however, would likely involve the felling of trees, an idea that now creates fierce opposition regardless of the benefit. Furthermore, the Montreal International Jazz Festival and Les Francofolies are strongly integrated into the centre of the city and Place des Arts. There are idle lots in that neighbourhood, some formerly earmarked for the development of a Place du Festival. But as the destruction of the Spectrum suggests, few downtown developers view the performing arts as a priority. And even a radical arts freak would have to concede the essential oddness of a deep-downtown outdoor concert venue that is vacant nine months a year. To build something as fine as the Lanaudière Amphitheatre within the city limits would also have the regrettable effect of siphoning off thousands of listeners from Lanaudière itself. Perhaps the solution to this problem, among others, is not to worry about it. Russell Johnson, the American acoustician who died last week, was an international figure famed for his concert halls in Birmingham, Lucerne and Dallas. But his Artec Consultants firm had a disproportionate influence in Canada. The Domaine Forget in Charlevoix - frequently used as a recording facility - is an Artec design, as is Jack Singer Concert Hall in Calgary, the Chan Cultural Centre on the campus of the University of British Columbia, the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium, the Weston Recital Hall in Toronto, the hall of the Festival of the Sound in Ontario cottage country and the Bayreuth copy that is the Raffi Armenian Theatre of the Centre in the Square in Kitchener. The Francis Winspear Centre in Edmonton is thought by many to be the best of all modern Canadian concert spaces. But perhaps Johnson's most astounding contribution to the cause of good acoustics in Canada was his transformation of the notorious dead space of Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto into a vibrant home for the long-suffering Toronto Symphony Orchestra. "That was easy," I remember his telling me at the 2002 reopening, with a shrug. The essense of the solution was reducing the interior volume with bulkheads. Sure it was easy - for someone with Johnsons's mix of spatial instinct, musical perception and pure science. Johnson long harboured a desire to build a new hall for the MSO. It appears he will realize it posthumously. The Quebec government chose Artec as the acoustical consultant for the project even before launching the competition to seek an architect. Diamond Schmitt Architects, one of the firms in the running for the MSO hall design, has won a "Good Design is Good Business" citation from BusinessWeek and Architectural Record magazines for the Four Seasons Centre in Toronto, a facility often referred to simply as the opera house. It was one of 10 projects cited from a competitive pool of 96 projects from nine countries. This common-sense award honours "architects and clients who best utilize design to achieve strategic objectives," according to Helen Walters, editor of innovation and design for BusinessWeek.com. My sense is that it serves as a counterweight to the ultraflamboyant designs that tend to capture headlines. The CAMMAC music centre in the Laurentians has also received an honourable mention from the Prix de l'Ordre des architectes du Québec 2007 for its new music pavillion. There will be a celebration at the site on Sept. 5. Love it or not, Place des Arts is active during the summer. Carnegie Hall - despite its prestige and air-conditioned presence at Seventh Ave. and 57th St. - is completely dark through the summer of 2007 and much of September. By October, however, the place is humming. The MSO used to occupy an October weekend under Charles Dutoit. During the coming season the orchestra will give one performance in the New York temple, on Saturday, March 8. Nagano conducts a program of Debussy (Le Martyre de Saint Sébastien: Symphonic Fragments), Tchaikovsky (Violin Concerto), Unsuk Chin (a new work) and Scriabin (The Poem of Ecstasy). All these selections are in keeping with the orchestra's former Franco-Russian reputation. If you wait six days you can then hear the Philadelphia Orchestra under its chief conductor - Charles Dutoit - in an even more MSO-ish program of Bartok (The Miraculous Mandarin Suite), Debussy (Nocturnes) and Holst (The Planets).
  2. Groupe Cholette Condos modernes avec ascenseur et stationnement intérieur Nouveau site en développement coin Casgrain et Molière à Montréal Au coeur de l'action de Montréal Immeuble de 17 condos ( 3 1/2 et 4 1/2) Hall d'entré distinctif Aménagement intérieur spacieux au style urbain À proximité: boutiques, terrasse et restaurants
  3. Courtesy of Visit Oslo Oslo a great city. I just got back from there. You at least need 2 days there. One thing is for sure, the new museum will be a great addition to all the modern buildings that are there now.
  4. Bonjour, J'aimerais savoir le nom du parc au sur de la basilique Saint- Patrick sur De La Gauchetière entre Beaver Hall et Saint Alexandre. [sTREETVIEW]http://maps.google.ca/maps?q=montreal&ie=UTF8&ll=45.50267,-73.563849&spn=0.001528,0.002411&hnear=Montr%C3%A9al,+Communaut%C3%A9-Urbaine-de-Montr%C3%A9al,+Qu%C3%A9bec&gl=ca&t=h&z=19&vpsrc=6&layer=c&cbll=45.50267,-73.563849&panoid=7S4rVf0P1bNw0yMYzMQsQA&cbp=12,326.77,,0,-7.11[/sTREETVIEW] [MAPS]http://maps.google.ca/maps?q=montreal&ie=UTF8&ll=45.503035,-73.564016&spn=0.001528,0.002411&hnear=Montr%C3%A9al,+Communaut%C3%A9-Urbaine-de-Montr%C3%A9al,+Qu%C3%A9bec&gl=ca&t=h&z=19&vpsrc=6[/MAPS] Merci !
  5. Intéressante conversation: MF ont créé les spectacles de Madonna au Super Bowl et JZ au Carnegie Hall. Bravo! http://www.985fm.ca/audioplayer.php?mp3=123762
  6. Laissez-moi vous presenter un des meillieurs villes belge : Bruges Location in Belgium Belfry and Market Square The Begijnhofm, still used to house nuns Some other pics (in no particular order) In the background you can see the modern Concertgebouw (Concert hall) .../
  7. jesseps

    Noise laws

    I am curious does anyone know if Beaconsfield has any bilaws concerning noise levels. I am planning on having some parties outdoor in the summer with djs and stuff, plus tons of people probably. Or should I just call up Beaconsfield city hall and ask them?
  8. January 20, 2009 ARCHITECTURE REVIEW | COPENHAGEN CONCERT HALL For Intimate Music, the Boldest of Designs By NICOLAI OUROUSSOFF COPENHAGEN — It’s usually considered an insult to say that an architect designs pretty packages, let alone that he borrows ideas from a dead genius. But Jean Nouvel should be forgiven for resurrecting old ghosts. His Copenhagen Concert Hall, which opened here on Saturday evening, is a loving tribute to Hans Scharoun’s 1963 Berlin Philharmonie, whose cascading balconies made it one of the most beloved concert halls of the postwar era. And Mr. Nouvel has encased his homage in one of the most gorgeous buildings I have recently seen: a towering bright blue cube enveloped in seductive images. It’s a powerful example of how to mine historical memory without stifling the creative imagination. And it offers proof, if any more were needed, that we are in the midst of a glorious period in concert hall design. Like Frank Gehry’s 2003 Disney Hall in Los Angeles and Herzog & de Meuron’s Elbphilharmonie, now under construction in Hamburg, Germany, Mr. Nouvel’s new hall demonstrates that an intimate musical experience and boldly imaginative architecture need not be in conflict — they can actually reinforce each other. The Copenhagen Concert Hall has the ugliest setting of the three. In a new residential and commercial district on the outskirts of the old inner city, it is flanked by boring glass residential and office blocks. Elevated train tracks running to the old city swing right by the building; swaths of undeveloped land with tufts of grass and mounds of dirt extend to the south. Approached along the main road from the historic city, the hall’s cobalt blue exterior has a temporal, ghostly quality. Its translucent fabric skin is stretched over a structural frame of steel beams and tension cables that resembles scaffolding. During the day you can see figures moving about inside, as well as the vague outline of the performance space, its curved form embedded in a matrix of foyers and offices. It is in darkness that the building comes fully to life. A montage of video images is projected across the cube’s fabric surface at night, transforming it into an enormous light box. Drifting across the cube’s surfaces, the images range from concert performers and their instruments to fragments of form and color. This is the intoxicating medium of late-capitalist culture. You can easily imagine boxes of detergent or adult chat-line numbers finding their way into the mix. Yet what makes this more than an advertising gimmick is the contrast between the disorienting ethereality of the images and the Platonic purity of the cube. For decades architects have strived to create ever more fluid spaces, designing ramped floors and curved walls to meld the inner life of a building with the street life around it. The ideal is a world where boundaries between inside and out vanish. Yet Mr. Nouvel’s box is more self-contained and arguably less naïve: its solid form, bathed in tantalizing images, is in stark opposition to the sterile desolation around it. That impression grows once you enter the building, where more projected images blend with real, living people coursing through it. To reach the main performance space, concertgoers can either ride up escalators directly in front of the main entrance or turn to climb a broad staircase. Just to the left of those stairs are elevators that shoot up to the lobby and upper-level foyers, whose ceilings are decorated in fragmented, overlapping panels. As video images wash over the panels, the pictures break apart so that you perceive them only in fragments, like reflections in broken glass. More images stream across the walls. The effect is a mounting intensity that verges on the psychedelic. None of this would be effective, however, without Mr. Nouvel’s keen understanding of architecture’s most basic elements, including a feel for scale and materials. The towering proportions of the lobbies, for example, seem to propel you up through the building. When you reach the upper foyers, you feel the weight of the main performance space pressing down on you. At the same time, views open up from the corners of the building to the outside world. It’s as if you were hovering in some strange interstitial zone, between the banal urban scenery outside and the focused atmosphere of a concert. This complex layering of social spaces brings to mind the labyrinthine quarters of an Arab souk as much as it does a high-tech information network. That’s largely because Mr. Nouvel’s materials put you at ease: elevator shafts and staircases are clad in plywood, giving many of the spaces the raw, unpretentious aura of a construction site. The building’s concrete surfaces are wrinkled in appearance, like an elephant’s skin, but when you touch them, they feel as smooth as polished marble. By contrast, the main performance hall wraps you in a world of luxury. Like Scharoun’s cherished hall, Mr. Nouvel’s is organized in a vineyard pattern, with seats stepping down toward the stage on all sides in a series of cantilevered balconies. The pattern allows you to gaze over the stage at other concertgoers, creating a communal ambience. Because the balconies are stepped asymmetrically, you never feel that you are planted amid monotonous rows of identical spectators. Yet Mr. Nouvel’s version is smaller and more tightly focused than Mr. Scharoun’s. The balcony walls are canted, so that they seem to be pitching toward the stage. A small rectangular balcony designed for the queen of Denmark and her immediate family hovers over one side of the hall, breaking down the scale. The entire room was fashioned from layers of hardwood, which gives it an unusual warmth and solidity, as if it had been carved out of a single block. The result is a beautifully resilient emotional sanctuary: a little corner of utopia in a world where walls are collapsing. And it underscores what makes Mr. Nouvel such an ideal architect for today. Though he is a deft practitioner of contemporary technology, his ideas are rooted in the historical notion of the city as a place of intellectual exchange. His best buildings hark back beyond the abstract orderliness of Modernism and neo-Classicism to a more intuitive — and human — time. Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company Privacy Policy Search Corrections RSS First Look Help Contact Us Work for Us Site Map
  9. Rafael Viñoly Architects inspired by cello in flexible performance space design For the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Rafael Viñoly Architects PC was tasked with providing a state-of-the-art home for the Philadelphia Orchestra, a flexible theater for multiple types of performances, and a major new public space for the city of Philadelphia. Sited along the Avenue of the Arts cultural corridor on Broad Street, the premises would further the revitalization of this primary north-south axis in the downtown area, as well. The resulting Kimmel Center treats the main program components as freestanding buildings on a vast indoor public plaza, Commonwealth Plaza, enclosed by a brick, steel, and concrete perimeter building and topped by an immense steel-and-glass barrel vault roof that floods the interior with natural light. The main symphony hall, the 2,500-seat Verizon Hall, applies the acoustic principles of a cello on a vast scale, creating a mahogany-wrapped music space shaped like the body of the instrument. A series of operable doors augment the naturally resonant shape by allowing sound to flow into reverberation chambers that occupy the 16 ft wide interstitial spaces between the Verizon Hall enclosure and its interior. A configurable acoustic canopy above the stage directs sound energy out to the audience while allowing the musicians to hear themselves clearly. The Perelman Theater, an intimate, flexible recital hall, can accommodate an audience of 650 for cultural performances and other events. Its turntable stage enables transformation from a conventional proscenium to a smaller stage with a concert shell and wraparound seating. A winter garden tops the theater and features striking views of the Kimmel Center interior and the city skyline. Commonwealth Plaza, a sheltered extension of the sidewalk, encourages the fabric of the city to flow into the complex where cafés, free performances, spectacular architecture, and the people who visit combine to create a dynamic civic experience. “I used to play the cello, and there is a very direct connection between playing the instrument and creating a space like Verizon Hall," says Rafael Viñoly. "When making music, the intellectual and emotional aspects of playing must be connected to the kinetic, muscular efforts involved. They’re the same thing. And the best architecture comes from knowing they’re the same.” http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com/index.php?fuseaction=wanappln.projectview&upload_id=10105
  10. Infrastructures artistiques - De l'action malgré la crise Le Devoir Martine Letarte Édition du samedi 28 et du dimanche 29 mars 2009 Mots clés : Théâtre, Infrastructures, Conseil des arts de Montréal, Prix, Culture, Québec (province) « Avant, les gens devaient attendre dehors... » Travaux en cours au Théâtre Denise-Pelletier Les compressions budgétaires du gouvernement Harper et leurs conséquences font les manchettes depuis plusieurs mois. Si tout n'est pas rose, tout n'est pas noir pour autant. Plusieurs compagnies artistiques sont actuellement en train de bâtir de grandes réalisations pour leurs infrastructures. L'un des grands projets en cours est la reconstruction du Théâtre de Quat'Sous. Le projet, né il y a près de 15 ans dans l'esprit de l'équipe du Quat'Sous, a été annoncé officiellement en décembre 2006. «L'ouverture est prévue le 27 avril. Ce sera l'aboutissement de plusieurs années de travail», se réjouit Éric Jean, directeur artistique et général du Quat'Sous. Parmi les nouveautés, on retrouvera des éléments aussi essentiels pour un théâtre que des loges, une salle de répétitions, un chauffage adéquat, un système de climatisation et un hall d'entrée plus spacieux. «Avant, les gens devaient attendre dehors, s'exclame M. Jean. Nous utiliserons aussi le hall d'entrée pour accueillir d'autres formes d'art, comme des expositions de photos, des lancements de livres ou de disques, etc.» Après 54 ans d'existence, le Quat'Sous est donc sur le point de renaître, sans toutefois se dénaturer. «Nous demeurons un théâtre à l'italienne à l'échelle humaine, avec nos balcons et nos sièges fixes», précise-t-il. La reconstruction du Quat'-Sous a nécessité des investissements de 4,5 millions de dollars. Le ministère de la Culture a fourni 3,7 millions et le reste est venu du ministère du Patrimoine canadien, de la Ville de Montréal et d'une campagne de financement. Théâtre Denise-Pelletier Le Théâtre Denise-Pelletier bénéficie également d'une importante rénovation depuis l'automne dernier. «On refait la pente de la salle, le système électrique, le système de cin-tres, les passerelles, et on restaure le foyer d'origine du hall d'entrée», indique Rémi Brousseau, directeur général du Théâtre Denise-Pelletier. Pour sa part, la salle Fred-Barry aura droit à un système de climatisation et à une salle de répétitions. On refait aussi tout le revêtement extérieur du bâtiment, qui se mariera davantage à celui du Théâtre Denise-Pelletier. Une nouvelle marquise sera également installée au Théâtre Denise-Pelletier. «En défaisant l'ancienne, qui datait des années 70, on a découvert de petites balustrades qui mettaient en valeur la marquise originale des années 1930. Nous avons décidé de remettre à l'honneur ces éléments architecturaux, qui s'harmoniseront avec la nouvelle marquise, et celle-ci rappellera beaucoup la marquise d'origine», explique M. Brousseau. La réouverture est prévue à l'automne. Pour entreprendre sa cure de rajeunissement, le Théâtre Denise-Pelletier a pu compter sur le ministère de la Culture (8,1 millions) et sur Patrimoine Canada (2,4 millions), en plus d'avoir organisé une campagne de financement qui a rapporté 600 000 $. À la SAT La Société des arts technologiques (SAT) se lance également dans des travaux majeurs pour que son immeuble du boulevard Saint-Laurent, un ancien marché public, réponde mieux aux besoins. «Il faut réaménager tous les espaces et acheter de l'équipement», affirme Jean-François Jasmin, coordonnateur des communications à la SAT. Le projet le plus spectaculaire concerne certainement la façade, qui s'élèvera sur 12 mètres et sur laquelle se greffera une oeuvre lumineuse développée par Axel Morgenthaler. «Ce sera comme un immense store pixellisé qui sera installé sur la façade. Captée et réfléchie par les lattes motorisées, la lumière du jour ou de la nuit s'harmonisera avec la lumière technologique des pixels», explique M. Jasmin. Sur le toit de la SAT, on aménagera également une terrasse avec un service de restauration et la SATinoire, une installation lumineuse interactive destinée aux jeunes. La SAT présentera également différentes installations sonores éclatées, comme le rideau sonore à l'entrée qui évoluera avec les mouvements lumineux de l'oeuvre de Morgenthaler. Les travaux doivent commencer à l'automne, et tout devrait être opérationnel au début de 2010. «Jusqu'à maintenant, nous savons que le ministère de la Culture nous donne au moins deux millions, et nous avons plusieurs partenaires privés», précise M. Jasmin. Marie Chouinard Après plusieurs années de travail acharné, LA BIBLIOTHÈQUE-Espace Marie Choui-nard a été inaugurée en janvier dernier. En plus des bureaux et d'un entrepôt, l'immeuble complètement rénové du 4499, avenue de l'Esplanade comprend un gymnase spécialisé, des vestiaires, des douches, une cuisine, un salon vert et deux studios avec planchers résilients, dont un de 3625 pieds carrés, sans colonnes. Enfin, l'immeuble a une vue imprenable sur le mont Royal, élément d'inspiration très important pour la créatrice depuis ses débuts. Toujours dans l'attente Si des projets se concluent, d'autres attendent toujours la première pelletée de terre. C'est le cas, évidemment, de la déjà future salle de l'OSM. Après avoir remis leur proposition technique en novembre dernier, les trois consortiums intéressés par le projet ont déposé au début du mois leur proposition financière auprès de l'Agence des partenariats public-privé. Le nom de la firme qui obtiendra le contrat sera connu très bientôt, d'autant plus que la livraison de la future salle est prévue en 2011. Le nouvel espace pourra accueillir 1900 spectateurs, 200 choristes et 120 musiciens. Le budget total du projet, évalué à 105 millions en 2006, sera revu à la hausse. Au théâtre La Licorne, on attend toujours des sous du gouvernement fédéral pour lancer le projet d'agrandissement qui permettrait aux deux salles d'accueillir plus de spectateurs, mais aussi de fonctionner de façon indépendante. «Actuellement, ce n'est pas possible puisque l'insonorisation est déficiente et que nous manquons d'espace dans le hall d'entrée», indique Danièle Drolet, directrice administrative et des communications. Le théâtre, qui n'a pas bénéficié de rénovation majeure depuis 20 ans, réorganiserait aussi son espace et améliorerait ses équipements pour être en mesure de mieux accueillir les productions actuelles. Et, enfin, La Petite Licorne serait climatisée! «Nous sommes prêts, indique Mme Drolet. Nous avons amassé 400 000 $, et l'immeuble voisin nous est réservé. Nous avons une entente de principe avec le gouvernement provincial et nous espérons une réponse du fédéral au printemps.» http://www.ledevoir.com/2009/03/28/242181.html (28/3/2009 13H34)
  11. Step aside Toronto, the next housing boom is in Montreal Karen Mazurkewich, Financial Post Published: Friday, January 11, 2008 Gordon Beck/Canwest News Service What sets Montreal apart from other urban centers is the fact that it has retained its neighbourhood mosaic. When Montreal architect Henri Cleinge purchased an old wine depot in Montreal's Little Italy district in 2002, he transformed it into a contemporary three-unit condo with polished wood and concrete floors, iron staircases and stainless steel kitchens. He then flipped two of the units for seven times the original investment of $200,000. Mr. Cleinge had a few sleepless nights wondering whether the units would sell. He didn't have to worry. In Montreal, there's big demand for contemporary-design living. Much has been made about Toronto's big museum projects and condo lineups, but Montreal is also changing its shape. Toronto housing prices have experienced 58% growth since 2000. The island of Montreal, however, has seen housing sales jump 50%, but the city itself has gone up 94%. In addition, a new concert hall and 28-storey condo tower is being erected atop Place des Arts metro, two mega hospitals are under construction and Sotheby's International Realty recently entered the market. As well, the largest private real estate investment in decades, involving 4,000 dwellings and a shopping plaza, is scheduled to get a green light from city hall. Montreal's mojo is back. But its not the big urban projects that are redefining this city. What makes Montreal distinct from other urban centres is the fact it has retained its neighbourhood mosaic. The most famous is the northeastern district known as Plateau-Mont-Royal. The Plateau has become the most expensive address in the city, with its average housing price jumping 105% in the past seven years. It's also one of the reasons Montreal consistently ranks among the top 25 cities in the world for quality of life. Like Greenwich Village in New York or Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco, the Plateau is where culture and haute couture intersect. In the 1980s, the Plateau was a string of shabby row houses. Owners lived on the main floor and rented the walk-ups. But the working-class enclave changed dramatically in the 1990s, when new legislation made it possible to subdivide duplexes and triplexes into condo apartments. "Instead of a single owner, who would rent one or two of the other floors, now each apartment is owned individually and people are now willing to invest," says Susan Bronson, a Montreal heritage conservationist. The artists and architects that moved into the area with nothing in their pockets can now afford to invest. The hood became hip because it maintained "high bohemian index," she says. Montreal's Mile End, a subsection within the Plateau immortalized by Canadian author Mordecai Richler, has seen the greatest upheaval. Gone are the icons: the discount grocery store Warshaw's, Simcha's Fruit Market and St. Laurent Bakery have closed. Instead, a slew of new high-concept design stores, including Interversion and Latitude Nord, have staked out Boulevard Saint-Laurent, turning it into the new fashion Mecca. Even the old rag-trade factories, religious buildings and empty lots have received a radical facelift. Architect Eric Gauthier, who created the landmark Espace Go on Saint-Laurent, is currently constructing the all-new Théâtre de Quat'Sous on formerly grungy Avenue Pins. The firm Lepointe Magne has also made its mark on the Plateau, redesigning the public swimming pool Bain Lévesque and converting an old fire hall into the high concept Théâtre Espace Libre. In Plateau's housing, one of the first innovations was Atelier Big City's 1989 Sept-Plex condominium project on Clark Street, which made creative use of the narrow street fronts and back lanes. Atelier Build reinvented the notion of infill with its 2004 "thin house" project along Avenue L'Hotel-du-ville. When she started her architectural company with partner Michael Carroll 12 years ago, Danita Rooyakkers of Atelier Build, says few others were betting on the Plateau. Political instability in the province was a deterrent for developers, but it was the perfect time for a young architect with modest means and big dreams. Ms. Rooyakkers biked around Plateau in search of cheap empty lots and made her mark by eschewing the traditional walk-ups, where every family gets a floor, and subdivided the property so each owner has a front door, backyard and terraces. By opening up the walls and adding skylights, the architectural firm created a vertical loft. It won awards because it offered another prototype for high-density Montreal living, she says. The design aesthetic in Montreal has been tempered by activism. The Plateau is not only governed by a planning advisory committee stacked with architects and landscapers, it has community watchdogs galore, including the Mile End Citizens Committee and Urban Ecology. Every architect working here has had to face fierce town hall forums before building begins. "As educated local residents, we have both a sense of entitlement and empowerment," says Owen Rose, an architect and head of the Urban Ecology group, which focuses on urban green spaces. "It's easy to get involved in issues because we are constantly bumping into each other on the street in this urban village," he says, adding that community involvement has permeated the local culture. As one of the first architects to help reshape the plateau, Mr. Gauthier was frequently forced to marry old facades with his slick contemporary style to meet the borough's strict guidelines. With Théâtre de Quat'Sous, he's been given an exemption: the historic synagogue in which the theater is currently housed didn't meet safety codes so it will be replaced by a showy new architectural structure. Mr. Gauthier is concerned about a public outcry, but he's excited about the new design. "If you want to keep the city alive, you need to add new buildings and new layers." While the strict development guidelines built a "cohesive" neighbourhood, he says, "we've passed the point where conservation should now trump freedom." Mr. Cleinge, the architect, is trying to exercise that freedom. In recent years he has revamped in his sleek industrial design look a microbrewery on Duluth Street as well as the Les Chocolats de Chloe of Roy Street East. He avoids wood stairs and plastered ceilings, preferring concrete and steel for urban living spaces. The look reflects the city's history, he says. "Montreal is an industrial city with a large garment industry so it's appropriate language to use in a residential context," he says. Luckily for him, clients such as Stéphane Dion and Éloïse Corbeil, typical Plateau dwellers, are looking to restyle their 1880s duplex. Ms. Corbeil's father purchased the building on Christophe Columb Street in 1996 when she and her brother needed a place to live while they attended university. Ms. Corbeil's brother has since moved to the United States, but the 33-year-old writer-filmmaker and her lawyer husband still love the mixed neighbourhood. They looked in the swank neighbourhoods of Westmount and Outremont after the birth of their two children, but decided to stay put. "We didn't want to go to the suburbs because we like the diversity here," says Ms. Corbeil. Conscious of their limitations but eager for a contemporary style, they hired Mr. Cleinge after seeing his work in a magazine. His mandate was to keep a portion of the "stacked wood" interior shell of the house, but rebuild the place from top bottom. He proposed a mezzanine open-style approach to filter more light into the home and create more space. Concrete floors and iron railings are part of the new plan. For most young buyers, the Plateau is now untouchable - meaning overpriced. Its evolution, however, has created a ripple effect across the city and intensive gentrification is happening in the shabby districts of Point St. Charles and the Jean Talon market area. "The Plateau has matured," says Mr. Cleinge. But the condoization of Montreal has only begun. Financial Post [email protected] http://www.financialpost.com/magazine/family_finance/story.html?id=231679
  12. A new headquarters facility for the Los Angeles Police Department is set to open this summer. Designed by AECOM (formerly DMJM) in joint venture with Roth + Sheppard Architects, the new 11-storey, 500,000 square foot building occupies an important civic block in downtown LA across the street from City Hall and near the Los Angeles Times and new Caltrans buildings. The project provides for a main police administration building and public plaza with below grade parking for 300 cars and an off-site vehicle maintenance garage and fueling station with parking for 800 vehicles. The design challenge was to meet the functional needs and rigorous security requirements of one of the busiest police stations in the nation while also providing greater transparency and openness to the community. In a nod to the civic nature of the site, AECOM pulled the public functions out of the building, as, for example, a 200–seat café and 450-seat auditorium, and located them in the plaza for greater public access. The park and low-rise auditorium to the North (facing City Hall) offer a street scaled entry to the building and green space for passersby, visitors and building occupants. Built of precast, glass and stone, the building is linked to the existing civic center buildings with its vertical grain, massing and lightness of color. The new headquarters is designed to achieve LEED Silver certification and utilizes energy efficient mechanical systems, day-lighting, drought-tolerant planting, a “cool roof” system, high-performance glass, water clarifiers and recycled or renewable building materials. http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com/index.php?fuseaction=wanappln.projectview&upload_id=11267
  13. Commentary from St. Lambert war veteran Okill Stuart: Click Here This sort of thing really disgusts me. The bastards that took that ought to rot in prison for the rest of their lives. It'll serve as a lesson to anyone else thinking of doing something similar. The guy who urinated on the National War Memorial in Ottawa was drunk, and apologized to the veterans. Stealing a plaque is not something that someone can do when they are drunk, or drugged or whatever. Whoever took this knew exactly what they were doing.
  14. Quebec exports to jump 9% in 2015: EDC economist FRANÇOIS SHALOM, MONTREAL GAZETTE More from François Shalom, Montreal Gazette Published on: November 27, 2014Last Updated: November 27, 2014 8:00 AM EST The U.S. housing market will spur export growth in Quebec, says Peter Hall, chief economist of Export Development Canada The U.S. housing market will spur export growth in Quebec, says Peter Hall, chief economist of Export Development Canada AFP/Getty Images SHARE ADJUST COMMENT PRINT Smile wide, Quebec exporters. Peter Hall, chief economist of Export Development Canada, says that two key ingredients will brighten your lives for the next year or three: the U.S. economy and the weak Canadian dollar. “These two things are coming together to make this year and next very positive for Quebec exports,” Hall said in an interview. “The reason it’s a particularly good story is that Quebec does not have a very strong internal economy. Consumption is going to be weak because of high indebtedness levels.” The good part of the EDC forecast, made public Thursday, is that just as household debt is cutting into the consumption economy, the trade sector is taking over and is set to boom, compensating — and then some — for the spending shortfall. “So we’ve got to be the luckiest people on Earth,” Hall said. Traditional resource sectors like mining and forestry as well as aerospace will be key drivers of the export resurgence. And that resurgence will in turn be driven principally by the U.S. housing market, which has mounted a remarkable comeback from the ominous recession of 2008. “The rate of (U.S.) housing construction has doubled where it was during the crisis,” said Hall. “And the best is yet to come. They’re building now at the rate of 1 million (housing) units a year. But the economy itself is generating (demand for) 1.4 million new households every year. They’re 400,000 units a year behind where they need to be just to keep pace with basic demand.” “So the very minimum you can expect over the next two or three years of growth inside this market is 40 per cent.” “That’s very good news for Quebec lumber firms and for everything else that goes into houses being built — copper piping, wiring, 2-by-4s, asphalt, OSB (particle board used for flooring, roofing and walls) — you name it.” “And it doesn’t stop there. Once the house is completed, there’s all the stuff that goes into it; washers, dryers, stoves, fridges, floorings, furnishings.” Again, he noted, a major opportunity for metal producers, notably Quebec aluminum smelters. It all adds up to a projected eight-per-cent jump for Quebec exports this year and another nine per cent in 2015, he said. Aerospace exports will surge 10 per cent next year, thanks to the weak Canadian dollar and good demand internationally. “Quebec’s Bombardier is the major beneficiary of these positive international trends, and with their CSeries line expected to enter into service in late 2015, it will be a huge boon for Quebec’s aerospace industry for years to come,” said Hall. He praised Quebec’s comprehensive overhaul of government spending under Premier Philippe Couillard as vital to the future of the province’s economy. “It’s essential to ensuring competitiveness for the future. If you don’t have fiscal sustainability, it means a higher future tax liability and an uncertain policy environment. “We’ve long learned that this is very, very positive for the future economy. :thumbsup::thumbsup:
  15. mtlurb

    Expos de Montréal

    Expos gone, baseball alive in Montreal Aspiring baseball players and history keep sport going By Stephen Ellsesser / Special to MLB.com MONTRÉAL -- On a Sunday morning, the corridor between Pie IX Station and Olympic Stadium is almost completely deserted. Based on some of the crowds that came out to the Big O in 2004, the final season for Major League Baseball in Quebec, it almost seems the Expos never left. After touring Olympic Stadium, it's almost as if they were never there. Montréal, the world's most truly bilingual city, is known for its tolerance, but Stade Olympique may have walked away from the Expo-dus with hard feelings. Baseball in Canada's Sin City existed long before the Expos became the Washington Nationals, and today it lives on in many different forms, some nearby and some farther away, but hardly any of it at Olympic. A catcher, a piece of meat and a glorified Muppet form an interesting picture of the ville's offerings to the sport. Catcher Russell Martin is bringing back Dodger Blue to Montréal, giving the city another Major Leaguer to support, along with Eric Gagne, who won a National League Cy Young Award with the Dodgers, but now comes out of the bullpen for the Red Sox. Both played for the same high school, and both are among the greatest offerings to come from Baseball Quebec's feeder system, which remains strong, according to Gilles Taillon, the group's administrative director. "The actual departure of the Expos had no impact whatsoever," Taillon said. "The major impact was in 1995-97, when the Expos got rid of a championship team. We experienced a decrease in our membership mainly due to the bad publicity that baseball was getting in the media." In 1994, the strike-suspended season clipped an Expos club that was cruising along, on pace to win 105 games. The ensuing firesale disenchanted the fan base. The team parted with Marquis Grissom, Larry Walker, Delino DeShields and John Wetteland after the year, and the foundation began to crumble. By the time the Expos rolled into their final season, Montréal had lost all momentum, not to mention a considerable amount of local interest. After the Expos' fate was sealed, there was no last-minute spike of support. For the opener of the final series at the Big O, a crowd of 3,923 watched the home team fall to the Florida Marlins. The worst part? That was only the fifth-smallest turnout of the year. Yikes. "You really can't blame them with some of the decisions that were made," said former third baseman Tim Wallach of the fans who stayed away. "When fans follow guys and they have no chance of staying when it's time for them to get paid, that turns people off." The Expos succumbed to a combination of economic factors, all of which, Wallach said, slowly took hold after original owner Charles Bronfman sold the team in 1991. "I feel bad because there were a lot of people who loved that team," said Wallach, who played for the Expos from 1980-92. "It was good, and it should have been good for a long time. But it went bad, and now it will never be there again." Martin remembers fondly the Expos and their days north of the border. "It was different for me because I loved baseball," he said. "I could care less how big the stadium was or how many fans were there, as long as I was at the stadium. I grew up going to that stadium and watching the Expos, so that was a big thing." Montréal, with a metro-area population of 3.6 million, is large enough to support an MLB club, but what the area baseball community is most focused on is starting smaller. "For MLB to come back, it would have to go through the Minor League route first," Taillon said. "At this point in time, efforts are being made to bring a Can-Am League team in." The Can-Am League is an independent league composed of eight U.S.- based teams, one road team and one Canadian club, based in provincial capital Québec City. "It would be nice to see baseball back up there, but they would have to give it a better venue, a smaller stadium and more fan-friendly activities," Martin said. As for the piece of meat, sometimes life is stranger than fiction. On eBay, someone (Cirque du Soleil's founder, interestingly enough) paid $2,605 Canadian for what was billed as "The Last Hot Dog of the Expos," which was -- as one might expect -- a hot dog, which was almost a month old at the time of sale. All of a sudden the $2,100 sale price of Montreal-Expos.com looks like a bargain. "It was different there because there wasn't that many fans that loved baseball," Martin said. "But those that did love baseball, they were always at the stadium." Indeed. Nothing says loving quite like a thousand-dollar piece of processed meat. But the apocalypse is not upon us yet ... proceeds went to charity. Ignoring any discussions of shelf life, the Expo with the most staying power has been mascot Youppi!, who joined the rotation at Bell Centre, home of the Canadiens, Montréal's hallowed NHL franchise. Youppi! hit the ice just more than a year after his team's departure put him out of work. His presence, along with that of a banner honoring the Expos' 1969-2004 existence and the team's retired numbers, makes Nos Amours more visible there than at the Big O. The luxury condos that stand where Labatt Park -- the proposed downtown stadium that would have helped the franchise stay put -- would have been built are only a couple blocks away from Bell Centre, so it almost makes sense for it to feel closer to home. Where the sport thrives, however, is in Baseball Québec's tight infrastructure. The organization emphasizes getting kids involved early through two main programs, Rally Cap and Winterball, which is sponsored by MLB. In Rally Cap, players ages 4-7 are taught skills and techniques, being evaluated as they meet different performance targets. With each level advanced, they get a new hat of a different color. "Winterball," Taillon said, "is designed to provide gym teachers with plans to initiate students in grades 3, 4 and 5 to baseball." Prospective players are evaluated for Baseball Québec's high-performance leagues between ages 14 and 15. From there, it is Midget AAA and the Ailes du Québec program, the province's U17 team. Those who continue play in the ABC program in the fall and winter and the Elite League in the summer. Players at this level are at the top of their game, and many are either drafted or signed to play college baseball in the United States. Martin and Gagné are veterans of the ABC program. One player hoping to follow in their footsteps is James Lavinskas, a 20-year-old third baseman for the Montréal Elites, one of the only shows in town for baseball fans. A three-sport star in football, baseball and hockey at a Connecticut prep school, Lavinskas came up through the Elite League's feeder programs, and now he is heading to the United States for college ball. Lavinskas will play for Seminole State College in Oklahoma, following once again in Gagné's footsteps. "Guys are getting drafted every year," Lavinskas said, summing up his hopes after moving on from the Elite League. With Baseball Québec's work, the sport's foundation in Montréal is stabilizing, with or without Olympic Stadium's help. Aside from a single postcard and one or two minutes of a 30-minute tour, baseball's only other fingerprint on the facility stands right out front, a statue of Jackie Robinson. After signing Robinson, Branch Rickey sent him to Triple-A Montréal. On the road, Robinson was jeered just as he would be when he was promoted, but in Montréal, fans loved their star second baseman. Robinson batted .349 with the Triple-A Royals that season, leading the team to a 100-win season. During Robinson's final game with the team, fans gave him a standing ovation, and a second curtain call, amazing support for a black athlete in 1946. "The fans just chased him after the game because they loved him and didn't want him to go," Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame president and CEO Tom Valcke said. "Rachel Robinson once said, 'That must have been one of the first times a white mob was chasing a black man for a good reason.' Don't tell me Montréal has bad baseball fans. They've always been great." Even if baseball did not live on at Olympic Stadium, at least baseball left a marker of tolerance in its place, and that is worth more than a hall of jerseys and signed balls. Stephen Ellsesser is a contributor to MLB.com. Associate reporter Jayson Addcox contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs. A ballpark that never was MONTREAL -- Labatt Park has had two deaths -- not bad for something that never actually existed. Condos now stand where the downtown park would have been built, and after the project was canned, the model of the park was passed to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. On one truly unlucky night in the Hall's archives, the model also met its destruction. "They just destroyed it, the two very troubled young men," said president and CEO Tom Valcke, recalling a day he said literally brought tears to his eyes. "It could have been a stagecoach or an old ping-pong table, but they wanted to destroy whatever got in their way that night." The 12-by-12 model, too large to be a regular fixture at the St. Marys, Ontario, museum, was in storage. Although a smaller Labatt Park model exists, the larger one (valued at $80,000 Canadian) was a sight to behold. "It was something -- one of the showstoppers in our collection," said Tom Valcke, director and CEO of the Hall. "I've never seen anything else like it, nothing before and nothing since. The detail -- individual seats, trees, all the concession stands -- it was beautiful." The model made an initial showing at the Hall, then Valcke put it away until a proper space could be created for it. Less than a month after the Expos franchise began its new life at RFK Stadium, two teenagers broke into the building where the model was kept and destroyed it, adding a bizarre and somewhat ironic twist to the life of the park that never was and never would be. Valcke said the Hall kept the pieces and that it could be reassembled, but that the task would be daunting and that it would be difficult to recapture the piece's original majesty. "We kept every single splinter of it," he said. -- Stephen Ellsesser
  16. May 22, 2009 By IAN AUSTEN OTTAWA — Arthur Erickson, who was widely viewed as Canada’s pre-eminent Modernist architect, died in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Wednesday. He was 84. Phyllis Lambert, the chairwoman of the Canadian Center for Architecture in Montreal, said Mr. Erickson, a friend, had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Mr. Erickson established an international reputation for designing innovative complexes and buildings, often to critical acclaim. Among them are the San Diego Convention Center; Napp Laboratories in Cambridge, England; the Kuwait Oil Sector Complex in Kuwait City; and Kunlun Apartment Hotel Development in Beijing. He designed the Canadian pavilion, an inverted pyramid, at Expo 67, the world’s fair in Montreal; Canada’s embassy in Washington; and, with the firm of Mathers and Haldenby, the Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto’s main concert hall, a circular, futuristic building that tapers to a flat top. But Mr. Erickson is perhaps best known for providing Vancouver, his hometown, with many of its architectural signatures, the most successful of which he integrated with their surrounding landscapes, avoiding ornamentation and favoring concrete (which he called “the marble of our time”). Among his notable buildings there is the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. “His work always came out of the earth,” Ms. Lambert said. “He didn’t start the way most architects started. He actually started off with the earth, the landscape, and made something that inhabited the land.” Mr. Erickson also campaigned for buildings that strove to maintain a human scale. In 1972 he persuaded the province of British Columbia to abandon plans for a 55-story office and court complex in downtown Vancouver. Mr. Erickson’s replacement design effectively turned the tower on its side. He created a relatively low, three-block-long complex with a steel and glass truss roof and a complex concrete structure softened with trees, gardens and waterfalls. It was another Vancouver commission, however, that first brought Mr. Erickson fame. Much to his surprise, he and his architectural partner at the time, Geoffrey Massey, won a competition in 1965 to design the campus of Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, a suburb of Vancouver. Its wide, low buildings mirror the mountains surrounding the city. Arthur Charles Erickson was born on June 14, 1924. His parents were influential promoters of the arts in Vancouver as the city began to grow rapidly in the early 20th century, and they encouraged Arthur and his brother to study the arts. Prominent Canadian artists in Vancouver became Mr. Erickson’s mentors, notably the landscape painter Lawren S. Harris. After serving with the Canadian Army in Asia as a commando and intelligence officer during World War II, Mr. Erickson began his university studies with the hope of becoming a diplomat. But in his autobiography, “The Architecture of Arthur Erickson,” he wrote that he changed his mind in 1947 after seeing, in Fortune magazine, photographs of Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Modernist and environmentally sensitive house built in the desert in Scottsdale, Ariz. “Suddenly, it was clear to me,” Mr. Erickson wrote. “If such a magical realm was the province of an architect, I would become one.” He moved to Montreal to study architecture at McGill University. After his success with the Simon Fraser commission, Mr. Erickson was awarded other prestigious projects, including the Canadian Expo pavilion. That work raised his public profile, and Mr. Erickson used it to promote environmentalism and corporate responsibility. Mr. Erickson’s commission to design a new embassy in Washington generated some controversy when Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau, a friend, awarded it to Mr. Erickson without any public process. The building, which opened in 1989, is on Pennsylvania Avenue, near the Capitol. Paul Goldberger, the chief architecture critic of The New York Times at the time, called it one of Mr. Erickson’s less-successful works. Over the years Mr. Erickson’s firm — today it is called the Arthur Erickson Corporation — opened branches in Toronto, Los Angeles, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Information about his survivors was not available. Il étudie à Montréal, mais aucune oeuvre ici? In 1992, Mr. Erickson, millions of dollars in debt, was forced to declare bankruptcy. But he continued to practice, producing work like the Museum of Glass, in Tacoma, Wash. He also continued to champion Modernism and decried a postmodern trend that emphasized ornamentation and decoration. “After 1980, you never heard reference to space again,” he said in a speech at McGill in 2000. “Surface, the most convincing evidence of the descent into materialism, became the focus of design,” and, he added, “space the essence of architectural expression at its highest level, disappeared.” http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/22/arts/22erickson.html?scp=1&sq=montreal&st=cse
  17. (Désolé pour l'anglais les gars, mais je suis pressé et en français c'est plus long avec les accents sur le clavier que j'ai) So how do i go about petitioning the city to reconfigure a street? Boul. Sir Wilfred Laurier in St-Lambert, eastbound towards rue St-Louis, has this awful configuration that confuses people and causes constant scenarios of honking and near-accidents. - If you're on Laurier and you want to continue forward to St-Louis, you must stay in the right-most lane, which will turn into the only lane that lets you go forward to St-Louis. - If you're in the left-most lane, you must turn into the McDonalds parking lot. - If you're in the middle lane, the lane becomes the turning lane to catch Victoria. Under the old configuration, both lanes could let you go forward onto St-Louis, but a while back they changed it to only the right lane, keeping left for left-turns only. Every god damn freaking time i come home by the Victoria bridge, a bunch of knuckleheads realize at the last second they're in the wrong lane and just merge into the other lane. Super dangerous. Not a time goes by that I don't honk at somebody, or that i witness somebody else make this mistake. Should i just go to city hall? I have a feeling they'll just give me the run around... maybe go directly to the planning department? Anyone have experience with St-Lambert city hall? MTLskyline? Here's a map of the problem. You'll be in the blue lane, and then over the intersection, some guy from the yellow lane will drift into the blue lane, either a) thinking that's where his lane continues (wrong) or b) realizing he has to change lane and doing so. I'll be in the correct blue lane, when some guy starts drifting/merging into my lane (red dots), and i'll be in HIS blind spot so I have to honk at him so he doesn't hit me... Sigh... bad drivers...
  18. I'm waiting for the usual suspects to put a negative spin to this article... 2015-11-26 Cape Breton Post.com MONTREAL - A new forecast by the Canadian government's lending agency says Quebec's highly diversified economy is on track for a 10 per cent increase in exports this year and eight per cent growth in 2016. Export Development Canada says the continued growth is being led by strong international demand for aircraft and parts, which accounts for nearly 14 per cent of the total value of Quebec exports. EDC says those exports are expected to rise 33 per cent this year and another 17 per cent in 2016. Metals, ores and other industrial products make up the largest sector of Quebec exports are expected to rise five per cent this year and by six per cent growth next year. But the EDC says within this sector, iron ore exports remain depressed as a result of continued price weaknesses and the closure of Cliffs Natural Resources' Bloom Lake mine. "Quebec has a very vibrant aircraft and parts sector and not just the big companies such as Bombardier, CAE and Pratt & Whitney, but also the many smaller firms that supply them," said EDC chief economist Peter Hall. "Demand from around the world, including from emerging markets, has been very strong in 2015, and this will continue in 2016." The EDC also says strong U.S. housing starts are creating demand for lumber and this is helping to drive six per cent growth in exports by Quebec's forestry sector in 2015 and four per cent growth in 2016. The increase in lumber exports also helps to offset a decline in newsprint and pulp exports caused by non-tariff trade barriers in several countries and the closure of several Quebec mills. "Quebec is one of Canada's more diversified export economies, both in terms of what it sells and where it sells," said Hall. "That said, most of the growth this year and next will come from the United States, where the economy is showing no signs of slowing down."
  19. McGill Residences expands with the purchase of third hotel Set to open fall 2011, Courtyard Marriott will be converted to student housing By Emilio Comay del Junco and Stephen Davis Published: Apr 28 McGill has bought the Courtyard Marriott at 410 Sherbrooke O. to convert into student housing for fall 2011. A member of the Board of Governors – the University’s highest governing body – as well as Doug Sweet, director of McGill’s Media Relations Office, confirmed the purchase. The Marriott will join converted hotels New Residence Hall and Carrefour Sherbrooke, opened fall 2009. The financial details of the transaction are currently unavailable. An official announcement from the University is rumored to be scheduled for tomorrow, when the hotel is also set to stop its current operations. http://mcgilldaily.com/articles/30548
  20. I've been reading this board and skyscraper's for a while.. but never have I seen such an amazing number of actual and prospective projects for Montreal. Let's list them -400 sherbrooke -Louis Boheme -Geoge Simpson -Quartier des Spectacles.. and RedLight -Rogers tower -OSM new concert hall -CdI and 900 maisonneuve -MUHC and CHUM -John Molson -Nun's Island -Westin Montreal -Old Port residential construction / Solano -Lac Mirabel -Dix 30 -Trudeau airport never ending construction Then you've got new retailers coming such as Apple downtown, H&M downtown Have we turned the corner?
  21. Streetscapes | Exchange Place An Early Tower That Aspired to Greatness G. Paul Burnett/NYT By CHRISTOPHER GRAY Published: July 20, 2008 FIFTY-NINE stories does not seem like much now, but when planned in 1929, the City Bank-Farmers Trust Building was to be the tallest skyscraper in the world after the Empire State Building. With its sheer limestone facade, haunting sculptural treatment and rich marble halls, the building — which is being converted to residential use — is a surprising find on its cramped, odd-shaped block at Exchange Place, at the conjunction of Beaver, Hanover and William Streets. In 1929, the financial district was booming. The architects Cross & Cross were at work on a 50-story office building for Continental Bank at Broad Street and Exchange Place, which ultimately wasn’t built. Then the National City Bank of New York merged with the Farmers’ Loan and Trust Company, and entered the skyscraper sweepstakes. When their architects, also Cross & Cross, filed plans at the Bureau of Buildings on Oct. 2, The New York Times described the new structure, at 71 stories and 846 feet, as the highest ever officially proposed. The design for the City Bank-Farmers Trust tower called for an illuminated globe on top, but the stock market crash a few weeks after filing brought the project up short, and it was reduced to 59 stories. Research by the Landmarks Preservation Commission gives the height as 685 feet, although just before completion The Times reported it as 750 feet. A partial set of engineering drawings from 1930 by the firm of Purdy & Henderson shows the 54th floor — several levels below the roof — as 670 feet high. The exact height of the building remains unclear. But it is safe to say that, when completed, it trailed the Empire State Building (1,250 feet), the Chrysler Building (1,046 feet) and the Bank of the Manhattan (927 feet). In August 1930, The Times reported that Gilbert Nicoll, a 20-year-old messenger, was near death after being hit by an iron bolt dropped from the 57th floor. He had been unemployed for months, according to the article, and the accident happened on his first day as a bank messenger. The building was completed the next year. The outside is plain, even ho-hum, except for 14 moody hooded figures at the 19th floor. The magazine Through the Ages said in 1931 that they represented “giants of finance, seven smiling, seven scowling.” Figures of coins on the ground floor represented countries in which the bank had its main branches. The Times called the building “conservative modern.” According to a 1931 article in Architecture and Building, the two lavish lobbies were fashioned from 45 different kinds of marble, quarried in Germany, Italy, Czechoslovakia, France, Spain, Belgium and elsewhere. The brothers Eliot and John Walter Cross formed a talented and versatile partnership. Well born, well educated and socially connected, they did in-town mansions and country estates, banks and garages, lofts and skyscrapers — like the 1931 General Electric building at 51st Street and Lexington Avenue, with its Art Deco radio-wave imagery. The architects’ niece Sarnia Marquand told a reporter in a 1980 interview that John Cross was the designer in the firm and Eliot handled the business side. Their most recognizable design is probably the sumptuously plain Tiffany & Company store at 57th Street and Fifth Avenue, which dates to 1940. According to the 1996 Landmark designation report, City Bank-Farmers Trust went through several changes, evolving into First National City Bank, and then, in 1976, Citibank. Its move out of the skyscraper happened in stages, the last one in 1989. The tower is easy to see from a distance but hard to find on the ground in the maze of irregular downtown streets. The City Bank-Farmers Trust banking hall runs along William Street. It is a high, columned space in English oak with polished marble and nickel trim, all handled in the Art Deco classicism that had become a safe alternative to radical European modernism. At Exchange and William, the main entrance to the banking hall is a high rotunda, flush with varying marbles, the most striking a golden travertine from Czechoslovakia, quite different from the pallid ivory-colored stone popular in the 1960s. From the tower there are wide views to the harbor and around to old skyscrapers on the land side. Today, a real estate firm, Metro Loft Management, is renovating the tower for rental apartments, and has 350 units ready on the floors from 16 to the top. A second phase, lower down, will involve office tenants; the company that takes the high banking hall will have a most spectacular retail space. E-mail: [email protected] http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/20/realestate/20scap.html