Completed in 1962 after plans prepared by Marshall and Merrett Architects, the McIntyre Building houses McGill University’s Faculty of Medicine. An iconic circular tower and a fixture of the Montreal skyline, the building’s skin was composed of precast concrete panels and steel-sash windows assembled in an artisanal manner. Pre-dating the rain screen curtain wall, the building suffered from severe water infiltration, condensation and air pressure problems and as early as 1967, studies were under way for improving the performance of its building envelope.
Approached conceptually as the restoration of a Modern heritage structure, the project replaces the existing envelope of the tower with an aluminum rain screen wall. As an important example of early Modern architecture, the McIntyre Building includes such features as strip windows, streamlined curves, and anodized aluminum sun screens that encircle the tower. The new envelope respects the location of original strip windows and the scale and proportions of the 1962 design. Existing aluminum sun screens were removed, newly anodized and re-installed. New aluminum profiles throughout the project were designed in accordance with the intentions of the original architects.
The new wall was installed on top of the existing concrete panels, which were left in place. While affording significant economies in terms of demolition costs, this strategy generated a technically complex envelope assembly with particular challenges related to insulation, continuity of membranes and control of air pressure in the wall cavity.