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Série de six articles sur le patrimoine architectural montréalais dans The Gazette


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    http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/saturdayextra/story.html?id=34389692-7401-4f72-8dc1-0193f394a578&p=1

     

    A partir de samedi le 16aoùt 2008, une série de sept articles sur le patrimoine architectural de Montréal.

    Ce samedi, le restaurant du 9ième étage de l'édifice-amiral de l'ancien magasin Eaton. Aujourd'hui : le Wilder Block

     

    Luxury to the 9TH

    ALAN HUSTAK, The Gazette

    Published: Saturday, August 16

    Like all cities, Montreal has its share of aging buildings that aren't architecturally significant but contribute to the texture of the streetscape and help identify neighbourhoods. Often, how a building fits into its surroundings is more important than how it looks. When old, familiar structures are torn down to make way for another overscale high-rise, the city is diminished, some say. A bigger problem is that many important buildings in Montreal have been allowed to deteriorate as real estate speculators, developers and politicians spar over profit margins, zoning regulations and height restrictions. Montreal is no longer a place where we tally up heritage losses, as we did in the 1960s and '70s, when sections of historic Old Montreal were razed and mansions in the Square Mile were demolished in the name of progress. Still, urban planners keep tabs on sites they consider at risk. We look at some of the properties on Heritage Montreal's list and invite readers to share their views on whether these places should be saved or surrendered.

     

    - - -

     

    WITH ITS OPAL GLASS WINDOWS, nickel steel railings, and pink marble columns with black Belgian marble accents, Le 9e dining room in the former Eaton's building downtown remains one of the most staggeringly beautiful art deco rooms in Montreal.

     

    But the restaurant has been off limits to the public since the Eaton's department store chain went bankrupt and closed its flagship Montreal store in 1999.

     

    Inspired by a trip company matriarch Lady Eaton took aboard the transatlantic luxury liner Île de France in the 1920s, the dining room was incorporated into the plan when Eaton's decided to expand its Ste. Catherine St. store to nine floors from six in 1928.

     

    The 650-seat dining room opened on Jan. 25, 1931, as Le François Premier, but the ladies who lunched there never called it that. It was always known as "The Ninth Floor."

     

    The room is the work of interior designer Jacques Carlu, the French-born professor of advanced design at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was also responsible for the celebrated Trocadéro in Paris and the Rainbow Room in New York's Rockefeller Plaza.

     

    The restaurant is an elegantly proportioned space, 40 metres long and 23 metres wide, with a 14-metre ceiling. It has two smaller dining rooms off to the side, the Gold Room and the Silver Room. At either end of the main room are two allegorical cubist murals, Pleasure of the Chase and Pleasures of Peace, painted by Carlu's wife, Natasha.

     

    Initially, the Ninth Floor foyer offered a panoramic view of the city, but the vista disappeared as more skyscrapers arose downtown.

     

    Even before the restaurant opened, The Gazette enthused over its opulence. "Spacious and lofty, it is a room fit for a palace," an article in the paper said at the time.

     

    It was never a high-end gourmet restaurant, but the food was substantial, the ambience luxurious, and the wait staff attentive and motherly.

     

    After Eaton's closed, the building was sold to Ivanhoe Cambridge, a real-estate arm of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, which invests funds from the Quebec Pension Plan.

     

    There were rumours the site would be incorporated into a luxury hotel - which was never built - and it would reopen as a swank supper club. It has been used occasionally for private functions.

     

    Even though the Ninth Floor has been declared a heritage site by the provincial government, that classification does not oblige the owner to maintain or conserve the space.

     

    An official of Ivanhoe Inc., which owns the former Eaton's building, confirmed the real-estate firm has entertained several offers but has not decided what to do with the property.

     

     

    What should be done?

     

    Preserve it: The Ninth Floor restaurant and the elevator shafts leading to it were declared a heritage site by Quebec's Culture Department in 2001. If that floor of the former Eaton's store continues to be mothballed, it might be forgotten altogether or converted into private offices, inaccessible to the public.

     

    Forget it: The plumbing at the Ninth Floor requires a major overhaul to meet health standards. And without nine floors of retail space beneath the restaurant to attract customers, the room might not be a profitable commercial venue for another 20 or 30 years.

     

    - - -

     

    Landmarks in limbo:

     

    The series

     

    Today: Le 9e, popularly known as the Ninth Floor, the art deco restaurant at the former Eaton's store downtown.

     

    Day 2: The Wilder Block on Bleury St.

     

    Day 3: The Redpath Mansion on du Musée Ave.

     

    Day 4: The Montreal Planetarium at St. Jacques and Peel Sts.

     

    Day 5: Grain Elevator No. 5 on Montreal's waterfront.

     

    Day 6: Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine House, at Overdale Ave. and Lucien L'Allier St.

     

    Day 7: The Guaranteed Pure Milk Co. bottle, overlooking Lucien L'Allier St.

     

    ahustak@thegazette.canwest.com

     

    montrealgazette.com

     

    Share your views

     

    Which historical and cultural sites in Montreal should be maintained? Which should be demolished? Give us your opinion at montrealgazette.com/soundoff

     

    A trip through the past

     

    Log on to our website to view a slide show of Montreal's threatened landmarks and hear the history behind them. Go to montrealgazette.com/galleries

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    A piece of history on the block

     

     

    The Wilder Block isn't considered one of Montreal's most eye-pleasing skyscrapers, but the Bleury St. building is a prime example of industrial construction between the First and Second World Wars

    The Gazette

    Published: 18 hours ago

    Now that construction of the first phase of Montreal's Place des Festivals is under way, the fate of the 11-storey Wilder Block is in limbo.

     

    It's the rather nondescript red brick building on Bleury St. directly opposite the Imperial theatre. Around the corner on Ste. Catherine St. is the Blumenthal Building, which is being incorporated into the site plan as a year-round jazz venue.

     

    The Wilder Block is not what anyone would call a beautiful skyscraper. But even if it isn't an architectural masterpiece, it fits well into its surroundings, is an integral part of the streetscape and represents a major chapter of industrial construction in Montreal between the First and Second World Wars.

     

    Considering it was built as a manufacturing block, compared to manufacturing blocks we put up today, it's like a Taj Mahal," Heritage Montreal's Dinu Bumbaru said. "It is a very solid building that could serve as a keystone for the Place des Festivals. It could serve many purposes."

     

    The Place des Festivals is the block south of Ste. Catherine St. between Bleury and Jeanne Mance Sts. It's part of the Quartier des Spectacles, the entertainment district the city is creating downtown.

     

    Designed by Charles Reginald Tetley for Hartland Bates Wilder, a wholesale furniture dealer and real estate developer, the building housed wholesale clothing stores after it opened in 1918. It represents a classic three-part architectural composition, with a base, a body and a head.

     

    Once it had a handsome lobby, but the only decorative touch to the exterior was the 11th floor colonnade. Early in the 1950s, the four bottom floors of the Wilder were remodelled to accommodate an annex and the building's lower facade was sheathed in antique green marble.

     

    The building became home to Jet Films. Trizec Properties acquired the structure for a real estate development in 1974, then swapped it with the city of Montreal in 1992 for another parcel of land when the city wanted the building for a low cost housing project. When that fell through, the province acquired the building in 1994 as the site for a new symphony hall and government complex. That plan has been revised; the concert hall is expected to be built east of Place des Arts.

     

    The provincial government still owns the Wilder Block, but its real estate division, la Société immobilière du Québec, hasn't been forthcoming about how or even if it will be adapted within the Place des Festivals.

     

    "We have no specific details as to what the government plans to do with the building," a Quebec government spokesperson said.

     

    There are suggestions the Wilder Block might be razed to make way for new headquarters for Les Grands Ballets Canadiens.

     

    - - -

     

    Landmarks in limbo: The series

     

    Like all cities, Montreal has its share of aging buildings that aren't architecturally significant but contribute to the texture of the streetscape and help identify neighbourhoods. Often, how a building fits into its surroundings can be more important than how it looks. We focus on some of the properties on Heritage Montreal's list of sites at risk of being lost to redevelopment and invite readers to share their views on whether these places should be saved or surrendered.

     

    The Wilder Block isn't considered one of Montreal's most eye-pleasing skyscrapers, but the Bleury St. building is a prime example of industrial construction between the First and Second World Wars

     

    What should be done?

     

    Preserve it: The Wilder Block is a solid, substantial industrial building, and any modern structure that goes up in its place could rob the street of some of its character.

     

    Forget it: Saving a facade of a building just for the sake of saving a facade isn't always the best course. It deters a site-specific creation that could expand and add to the energy of the Place des Festivals.

     

    A Trip Through the Past

     

    Log on to our website to view a slide show of Montreal's threatened landmarks and hear the history behind them. Go to montrealgazette.com/galleries

     

    montrealgazette.com

     

    SHARE YOUR viEWS

     

    Which historical and cultural sites in Montreal should be maintained? Which should be demolished? Give us your opinion at montrealgazette.com/soundoff

     

    ahustak@thegazette.canwest.com

     

    Demain : the Redpath Mansion sur l'avenue du Musée

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    Landmarks in limbo Former Redpath family home has seen better days - and developers would love to see it demolished

    ALAN HUSTAK, The Gazette

    Published: 18 hours ago

     

    The derelict Victorian mansion at 3455 du Musée Ave. in downtown Montreal - most recently known as Beamish House - was built in 1884 for Francis Robert Redpath, a vice-president of operations with the celebrated Montreal family's sugar refinery.

     

    Originally known as Inglenook, the distinctive red-brick mansion - with its turrets, towers, Palladian windows and balconies - was one of three on the block designed in the eccentric Queen Anne Revival architectural style by Scottish-born architect Sir Andrew Taylor.

     

    The apartment block next door, Sunny-dene, also by Taylor, was originally leased to Henry Bovey, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and dean of McGill's engineering faculty.

     

    A third Taylor-designed mansion, further up the hill, fell to the wrecker's ball in 1974 to make way for Condominium du Musée, a six-storey apartment block.

     

    After Redpath's death in 1928, Ingle-nook appears to have remained vacant for several decades until 1969, when a non-profit organization took it over as Beamish House, a convalescent hospital for patients on dialysis at the Royal Victoria Hospital.

     

    Then, in 1986, the Redpath property was acquired by developer Amos Sochaczevski, who proposed turning the two adjoining houses into condominums.

     

    Demolition began without a permit, and was halted in 1986 by a court injunction. Demolition was again thwarted in February 2002, when a city appeal board reversed an earlier decision by then-mayor Pierre Bourque's executive committee that would have allowed the owner to tear it down. Since then, the site has continued to deteriorate and the building has become an eyesore in the tony Golden Square Mile neighbourhood.

     

    The city is said to be considering a proposal to have the house demolished and have the facade integrated into an 11-storey tower.

     

    ahustak@thegazette.canwest.com

     

    Landmarks in limbo: The series

     

    Like all cities, Montreal has its share of aging buildings that aren't architecturally

     

    significant but contribute to the texture of the streetscape and help identify neighbourhoods. Often, how a building fits into its surroundings can be more important than how it looks. We focus on some of the properties on Heritage Montreal's list of sites at risk of being lost to redevelopment and invite readers to share their views on whether these places should be saved or surrendered.

     

    Day 1: Le 9e, popularly known as the Ninth Floor, the art deco restaurant at the former Eaton's store downtown.

     

    Day 2: The Wilder Block on Bleury St.

     

    Today: The Redpath Mansion on du Musée Ave.

     

    Day 4: The Montreal Planetarium at

     

    St. Jacques and Peel Sts.

     

    Day 5: Grain Elevator No. 5 on Montreal's waterfront.

     

    Day 6: Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine House, at Overdale Ave. and Lucien

     

    L'Allier St.

     

    Day 7: The Guaranteed Pure Milk Co. bottle, overlooking Lucien L'Allier St.

     

    What should be done?

     

    Preserve it: The house is one of the last remaining examples of the Queen Anne style of architecture to have been designed by Andrew Taylor, who also designed the Redpath Museum building on the McGill University campus. A proposed 11-storey building in its place, next to the Richelieu Place townhouse complex, would be completely out of scale.

     

    Forget it: The building has never been declared a heritage property, and much of its distinctive interior decor was gutted in 1986. The cost of restoring the building to its original condition would be prohibitive.

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    Merci de poster ces articles Yara, ils sont très intéressant (même si ces articles contiennent le nom de ma personne préférée à Montréal;) )

     

    C'était inévitable, vu le thème !! ;)

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