Georges-Vanier Housing Block

Little Burgundy is an inner-city Montreal neighbourhood that was the theatre of brutal urban renewal practices in the 1960s: complete streets of worker housing were bulldozed in slum clearance operations.  This ‘’tabula-rasa’’ approach removed all traces of the neighbourhood’s historic buildings to create a blank slate for new construction.

Thirty years later, the Georges Vanier Housing Block builds on a lot left abandoned by this exercise.  Surrounded by non-descript housing, the Georges Vanier Housing Block proposes an alternative: the construction of a building respectful of history and the reaffirmation of the neighbourhood’s architectural memory.

Using historic references as a point of departure, the project creates contemporary architecture rooted in local culture and traditions.  The palette of Montreal’s traditional religious architecture: limestone walls, painted tin roofs, white windows and mouldings – serves as an inspiration for the project’s materials: concrete block walls, a sheet steel roof, and white aluminum windows and trim.  Montreal’s historic mansard roof is reinterpreted in a contemporary form in the project’s distinctive barrel roof.

Completed in the 1990s, the Georges Vanier Housing Block marked a return to the city center for affordable family housing after a period of urban neglect and flight to suburbia.  The project is based on an innovative housing typology that stacks a two-storey maisonette on top of a ground floor flat, creating terraces directly accessible from street level for all units.

Montreal, Quebec, Canada
10 Condominium Units
Jules Maltais Construction
Project Stage
Affleck de la Riva architects
Design Architect
Richard de la Riva
Project Architect
Richard de la Riva
Project Team
Suzanne Gagnon, Georges Lagacé, Jean Pierre Lagacé
Structural Engineer
D.L. Turner Consultants