Abandoned Montréal studio restored as vet clinic

Thomas Balaban Architect (TBA) transformed a Montréal storefront space and basement into a 345-m2 (3714-sf) mixed-use building. Photo © Adrien Williams
Thomas Balaban Architect (TBA) transformed a Montréal storefront space and basement into a 345-m2 (3714-sf) mixed-use building.
Photo © Adrien Williams

In the Mile End neighbourhood of Montréal, a storefront space and basement was transformed by Thomas Balaban Architect’s (TBAs) into a 345-m(3714-sf),   mixed-use space. They have constructed Hôpital Vétérinaire du Parc (HVdP), a Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) emergency clinic, and four residential units in and on top of a small, abandoned photo studio.

The materials were chosen to meet the neighbourhood’s esthetics and the specific needs of a veterinary clinic. Stone foundations, concrete wainscoting, and ceramic tiling protect the lower parts of the walls from animal wear and tear and polycarbonate ceiling panels hide a complex mechanical system.

Technical spaces are organized around a central circulation spine, allowing for a reception where animals and owners can move freely. Custom furniture and partitions are used to ease anxiety and subvert traditional formalities.

The four-storey, 750-m2 (8073-sf), mixed-use building extends and renovates an existing two-storey structure. The rooftop and rear extensions maintain a commercial storefront typical of the Mile End neighbourhood, while adding four residential units above. The new structure was inserted into the existing steel frame, using the building perimeter as a guideline.

The design consists of a central courtyard that funnels natural light into the centre of the structure and provides access and ventilation for the residential units. The upper units occupy two floors. The front unit, belonging to the veterinarian, leads to a large, hidden rooftop terrace.

On the exterior, the building is restrained and monochromatic. The façade is clad in a single material, a grid of local limestone quarried 50 km (31 mi) away. A tripartite stacking brings out the city’s layered façades, delineating the residential units through tiered setbacks over a glass storefront. The windows and doors are surrounded by aluminum details and perforated guardrails that fade into the background. Balconies are added to the façade, giving tenant’s added privacy while streamlining the building’s form.

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