Founded in 1869 by Roman Catholic priests, Notre Dame College occupies a prestigious site on the northern flank of Montreal’s Mount Royal. The college has grown continuously since its beginnings and new pavilions and facilities have been added in an aggregate fashion at regular intervals. Today these buildings form a campus that is a record of more than a century of educational architecture.
The restoration and renovation program undertaken at Notre Dame College seeks to improve the school’s support and service functions and provide comfortable spaces for eating, relaxing and extra-curricular activities. Dispersed among five pavilions, the program includes a student lounge, professor’s offices, a theatre, student and staff cafeterias, and an outdoor public space.
Considering the broad scope and dispersion of the program, the design approach treats each intervention as an autonomous project. The college’s uniform stone exterior provides a sober backdrop for the new programmatic elements. Interventions in more recent pavilions emphasise geometric shapes and bright colours, while those in historic pavilions restore original materials and finishes.
A new student lounge and cafeteria located in a pavilion built in 1962 include colourful linoleum flooring, built-in furniture, and back-lit glass panels. Located in the college’s oldest pavilion, the professors’ offices have refinished maple floors and restored millwork. An under-used gymnasium was recycled as a theatre and a series of adjacent spaces were combined to create a crush space. Built on college property but opening onto a city sidewalk, the new public space commemorates Brother André, an employee of the college later ordained as Canada’s first saint.