La Fabrique 125: From Textile Industry to Housing

The transformation of this old textile industrial building into a new housing project is set in the context of Quartier Chabanel revitalization, an old industrial area in Montreal which is called to be the new beacon of fashion and design at the city. Combining memory and design, the building gets its own new identity, pointing out the evolution that has experimented.
 
 
“We reinterpreted the spirit of the place to convey the new vocation of Quartier Chabanel, defined as the Montreal hub of fashion and design,” commented Stéphanie Cardinal, president of Humà Design. “The project was conceived to be a beacon of creativity, light, and space, with customizable open areas, exceptionally large windows and incredibly high ceilings, and signage with typography that evokes the building’s industrial history as much as it states its new identity.”
 
Textile architecture 
The desiners preserved the original spirit of the building, from the concrete structure to the rhythm of the façade’s frame and the exterior cladding materials (glazed white bricks and black bricks). 
 
 
At the same time, they played on the contrasts between industrial past and new residential vocation in order to affirm the building’s identity. For instance, the address identification painted on the façade evokes the 192 new housing units, and the fine lines of the Didot typeface stand out against the building’s massive form. Inside, the visual identity features motifs inspired by different sewing stitches –a reminder of La Fabrique 125’s origins – and the signage refers to the typeface used on the façade. 
 
  
 
Adding to the contrasting interplay of elements, the new fenestration is designed as long bands of six-foot-high glass that emphasize the building’s lines by being slightly recessed from the masonry cladding. The ground floor has been detached from the rest of the building thanks to an awning that runs across two facades, serving also as a support for lighting, as well as a curtain wall on Chabanel Street and different fenestration on Esplanade Street.
 
Extraordinary housing units
Thanks to the spectacular size of the original building, consisting of seven floors each measuring 40,000 square feet, the lofts in La Fabrique 125 benefit from extraordinary volumes, with areas of from 860 to 1,307 square feet and ceilings 11 feet high! The windows, from 17 to 23 feet long, are also impressive! 
 
On Esplanade Street, the old loading docks have been redesigned to offer six ground-floor units with direct outdoor access. The unit volumes on the east side allow for the creation of residences with studios. On the southwest side, 42 units have been enhanced with mezzanines, and 24 corner units benefit from exposures on two sides. The units looking onto Chabanel Street and many of those on the east side offer breathtaking views of Montreal.
 
A project in the heart of the community
To fight the effects of the crisis in the Montreal garment industry, the city of Montreal has invested $23 million since 2007 to revitalize the Chabanel sector (creation of a train station, access to Autoroute 15, redesign of the Marché Central and Chabanel Street). La Fabrique 125 is the first residential project to be created as part of the drive to turn the area into a new neighbourhood. 
 
The designers therefore lowered the ground-floor slab to street level on Chabanel Street to create permeability with the surrounding urban fabric. For the same reason, the main entrance was kept on Chabanel Street. To strengthen the community spirit that underlies the revitalization of the area, the roof terrace has been transformed into a huge 5,000-square-foot urban lounge with a wood floor and a series of plant boxes.
 
For more information: www.humadesign.com 

on July 10, 2013