Architects: Lemay Associés
Project Team: Pierre Larouche, partner in charge; Yanick Casault, project manager; Michel Lauzon and Jean-François Gagnon, design architects; Éric Gélinas, technician; Steve Lesieur, technician; Sammy Camacho, technician; Henry Cho, technician; Éric Provost, technician, LEED AP; François Desmarais, designer; Valentin Guirao, architectural intern; Khalil Diop, architect; Anne-Marie Brochu, bachelor of architectue; Maryse Ballard, architect; Sébastien Martineau Soto, architectural intern, LEED AP; Ramzi Bosha, architectural intern.
Location: Montreal, Canada
Stinson Transport Center is the first roof-covered transport centre of the Société de transport de Montréal (STM). Located on Stinson Street in Saint-Laurent borough, this project stands out by its urban integration and reduced ecological footprint.
Michel Lauzon, architect, responsible for creativity and ideation at Lemay since 2009, was the design manager on the Stinson project. He is very proud of the result. “The stakes were high since the objective was to conceive a building able to accommodate 300 vehicles and 800 people, revitalize an industrial sector and melt into its environment while improving it at the same time”, he explained.
The STM wanted its new transport centre to be highly efficient but also accepted by the surrounding population. Therefore, Lemay’s creative team suggested to the STM to push further their reflection and to imagine the centre as a natural extension of their identity and values. By its conception, this new center proposed to add a true value to the community, which would, at the same time, increase the acceptability of the project among the nearby residents. Thus, the Stinson project became a prototype for future transport centre, and so, for its ecological perspective as well as its approach to establish a dialogue with the citizens.
“We wanted a centre that would represent our commitment towards sustainable development and our constant dialogue with the population”, indicates Jocelyn Leblanc, project manager at the STM. “That is why we took into consideration every request made by citizens during the public hearings and that we integrated all of them into the project. For example, the roof was considered as a fifth facade. As such, it was covered with vegetation and void of any mechanical equipment. Our concern for urban integration even brought us to provide a public space as well as parking spaces for cyclists and car-poolers, which are accessible to residents of the neighborhood”.
Establishing a dialogue with the City
From the urban aspect, to avoid the noise and visual pollution generated by a high concentration of buses, the new building was consequently conceived as an entirely closed structure, covered by a roof of 35,000 m2, or the equivalent of 7 football fields. Then, to improve the view of the neighbours in the nearby high-rise apartment buildings and establish a symbolic dialogue with them, the designers have strewed this immense surface with garden-tapestries and enormous ventilation skylights of about 30 m long shaped like roof trusses, which reproduce the street pattern found in the neighbourhood.
For the same esthetical reasons, the architects also took the time to hide all mechanical equipment into the main programmatic bar (including the dining and recreational areas, the offices and the equipment room). Its roof, painted in yellow, creates a metaphorical link between the centre entrance and the wooded area located at the rear of the building. In regards with its concerns for environmental and aesthetic quality, the firm did not only preserve the 230 original trees of the wooded area but also planted 600 new ones. In order to complete the dialogue with the City, Lemay prohibited blank walls so common in this type of projects and graced the building’s facade on Stinson Street with large windows, inviting passersby to discover the inside life of a transport centre.
For a LEED Gold certification
According to Jean-François Gagnon, architect, member of Lemay’s creative team and main designer of the Stinson centre, the major challenge of the project was to reduce the ecological footprint of the building – even though the project consisted in developing a centre four times bigger than the original one. It also involved creating a pleasant living and working area in a closed environment. The designers envisioned a series of landscape and architectural interventions that allowed the initial objective to shift from a LEED Silver certification to a LEED Gold certification. Thanks to the 26 giant skylights installed, the inside of the building is lit by natural light, which is rare in this kind of major projects. Furthermore, approximately 85% of the heat generated by the vehicles and the maintenance areas is reused by the heating and air conditioning systems. Moreover, the architects were able to translate their sustainable development vision into every small detail, as demonstrated by the use of presence detectors, photovoltaic cells and VOC-free products.
Along with the green roof of 8,000 m2 and the green wall down the northern facade, the white roof was conceived to avoid urban heat islands. The building basements store water retention tanks with a capacity of 3,000 m3, which will contribute to relieve the city sewers as well as to clean the buses (75% of the water used is reused water). In addition to increasing green areas and installing water reservoirs, the reduction of parking areas and road accesses (obtained by an optimization of the traffic plans) helped keep the same permeability rate than the original building, even though it was four times smaller.