McGill University Power Plant, Canadian Campus Building, Quebec Architecture Development, Images

McGill University Power Plant in Montréal

Feb 22, 2021

McGill University Power Plant

Design: Les Architectes FABG

Location: Montréal, Québec, Canada

McGill University needed a new building to house three 1.5 MW emergency facilities, generators that will protect research activities in the event of a power outage. The McGill University thermal power plant and the Wong, Rutherford, Administration, and Leacock pavilions are powered by a single emergency generator located in the Ferrier building in the immediate vicinity of the boiler room. This presents risks that should be limited by Housing New generators in separate spaces in the immediate vicinity.

Mcgill University Power Plant Montreal

The feasibility studies compared several location hypotheses, which led to the location of the structure between the Ferrier building (1963) and the Wong Pavilion (1990) being the best location. These preliminary studies also described the functional parameters associated with the two required 1.5 MW generators and the possible addition of a third in the future.

Mcgill University Montreal

The project was developed as part of a multidisciplinary integrated design exercise combining historical research, architecture, engineering, landscape, and urban acoustics to formulate a sensitive response to a problem that cannot be limited to utilitarian considerations.

Mcgill University Power Plant Montreal

The steeply pitched lot was an unused parking lot on Dr. Penfield avenue, which supported a greenhouse that had been demolished. It faces the castle-style pumping station of the McTavish underground reservoir and is part of the Mount Royal historic and natural District protected area.

Mcgill University Power Plant Montreal

The proposed concept is based on the following objectives:
Preserve transparency and permeability at Dr. Penfield level
Establish an additional link between the top and bottom of the campus
Structure the slope left in the wasteland
Ensure a significant plant presence on the site
Strengthen the specific character of McGill by using Trenton limestones
Promote integration by respecting existing alignments and templates

The solution chosen is a glass pavilion on a limestone podium in alignment with the facades adjacent to the location of the disappeared greenhouses. A gazebo, under the extension of the roof, separates it from the Ferrier building and an external staircase leads to the lower level of the campus. Under this pavilion, a ventilation plenum allows the entry through the floor of the large amount of new air required while concealing the steam pipes connecting the Wong pavilion to the Ferrier Pavilion. The cantilevered overhang at the rear has vent grilles at the underside of the floor.

Mcgill University Power Plant Montreal

The roofs are vegetated due to the low height of the building which exposes these surfaces to the view all over the south flank of Mount Royal and from surrounding buildings. For the roof surfaces and walls covered with metal panels, environmental problems related to lead discouraged us from using the tinned copper present on the Wong building and led us to propose a fluoropolymer paint baked on an aluminum panel to harmonize with the shade of the neighbor. The acrylic coating on the adjacent portion of the Ironworks has been replaced with limestone siding in this project.

Mcgill University Power Plant Montreal

The project focuses on the underlying presence of the mountain by dramatizing the topography of the site. Although it is a technical infrastructure, we insisted on treating the building as a pavilion that could help enhance the quality and specificity of the McGill University campus.

Storage and maintenance spaces for campus furniture and outdoor amenities are laid out at the foot of the slope and the limestone-clad main wall becomes parallel to the rest of the campus. A mature Elm is preserved at the foot of the staircase, which extends the existing sidewalks to University Street to enrich the network of pedestrian traffic that is being consolidated throughout McGill.

Mcgill University Montreal Mcgill University Power Plant Montreal

The generators are installed in a glass pavilion sitting on a granite baseboard at Dr. Penfield Street level while there is storage space for campus street furniture on the lower level. The interstitial space between these two volumes serves as a plenum for air, steam, and electricity connected to the Ferrier power station. An open staircase opens a new passage along the east-west axis to connect the top and bottom of the campus.

Mcgill University Power Plant Montreal
Awards and recognitions
Prix d’excellence de l’OAQ – 2020

McGill University Power Plant in Montréal, Quebec – Building Information

Design: Les Architectes FABG
Project Name : McGill University-Central Électrique

Location: 840 Avenue du Docteur-Penfield, Montreal, QC
Commissioning date: April 2019
Client: McGill University (royal Institution for the advancement of science)
Architecture Firm: Eric Gauthier, Marc Paradis, Les architectes FABG

Project manager: Johanne Guertain, GPH
Assistant Project Manager: Nadia Nachtigall, McGill University
Structural engineer: Ayad Bensbaa, CIMA+
Civil engineer: Guillaume Harpin, CIMA+
Mechanical engineer-electricity: Guillaume Bouccara, Alain Bilodeau, BPA
Landscape Architecture: Ziad Haddad, WAA
General contractor: Benoit Fiset, David Morissette, Mathieu Mainville, QMD

Mcgill University Montreal
About Les Architectes FABG
Founded in 1954 and formerly known as Blouin et Associés, the firm FABG changed its name in 1988 to reflect the succession of a third generation to the management of the company that now exceeds its fifty years.

Since its foundation, the team has an average of fifteen members, and movements within the staff are quite rare. This stability is necessary for the transmission of a corporate culture that promotes the quality of service and products delivered.

The company offers comprehensive architectural services with special expertise in cultural venues and restoration and renovation projects that have earned it more than 50 awards and mentions of excellence here and abroad.

FABG architects mainly serve institutional clients for public projects. Many projects have been or are being carried out with the city of Montreal and its boroughs, from the Pierrefonds Community center, the restoration of Esso station in Verdun, the Maison de la Culture Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, and the transformation of the Bibliothèque Centrale. We have also completed the functional and technical programs for the Montréal-Nord and Saint-Charles libraries.

The effectiveness of the services provided by a firm is measured by the confidence that

grants it repeatedly and which has the consequence of gradually strengthening its degree of expertise. Over the past twenty years, FABG has been the recurring choice of major cultural stakeholders (Cirque du Soleil, Jazz Festival, National Theatre School of Canada, Ex-Centris, World Film Festival, Place des arts, etc.) for the realization of many projects in Montreal.

Mcgill University Montreal

Photo credits: Steve Montpetit

McGill University Power Plant, Montréal information / images received 220221 from v2com newswire

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