The heritage space, which dates to 1917, consists of an open hall ringed by a mezzanine. Two rows of black and gold Corinthian columns are situated in the centre of the space.
The room features marble cladding, a giant skylight, and a ceiling decorated with gold leaf.
“Despite these rich details, the trading floor was dark and uncomfortable,” said Architecture 49, a national firm established in 2014 through the union of six architecture studios – Arcop, AE Consultants, North 46, PBK, Smith Carter and WHW Architects.
The firm’s Montreal office was tapped to revitalise the trading floor. “It had been 20 years since the space was last renovated, and it needed to be modernised,” the team said.
The architects were charged with creating a bright, comfortable and technologically sophisticated workspace for 256 traders and managers. The room totals 30,735 square feet (2,855 square metres).
“The trading floor is the financial institution’s nerve centre, where traders complete transactions for the bank and its clients,” the team said. “The integrity of the unique space had to be safeguarded at every stage, from design to construction.”
The architects used various techniques to accentuate the room’s historic character.
The large glass skylight was cleaned and fitted with new and efficient lighting fixtures, enabling light to flood the space below.
Original columns, bronze railings and ceiling details were all restored and enhanced, returning the space to “its rightful glory”.
The team added contemporary elements, such as glass partitions around private offices on the perimeter.
The trading floor is largely dominated by long rows of open work stations. “Special attention was paid to the room’s acoustics, which were tailored to allow traders to share the bustling open-concept space peacefully,” the team said.
Other recent renovations projects in Montreal include the conversion of an old bank in the city centre into a cafe and tech start-up office – a project by local architect Henri Cleinge.
Photography is by Stéphane Brügger
Client: National Bank of Canada
Architects/designers: Alexandre Sauvé, OAQ, design architect; Alexandre Landry, MArch, design architect; Nicoleta Dan-Ferenta, OAQ, project manager; Pierre Baillargeon, OAQ, supervising architect; Louis-Pierre Hubert, technologist, on-site supervisor
Lead partner: Robert LaPierre, OAQ, FIRAC
Mechanical-electrical engineering: Bouthillette Parizeau Structural engineering: NCK Inc
Contractor: Progest Construction
The terraces will provide staff at the headquarters of the Lebanese bank Banque Libano Francaise (BLF) with access to outdoor spaces, which the architects hope will become “social hubs” for the institution.
But the outdoor space and vegetation are also intended as a symbol of sustainability.
“In a time of profound change and transformation, the BLF is an ideal partner for Snøhetta with our shared ideals of sustainability, community, and dialogue,” said Snøhetta founding partner Kjetil Trædal Thorsen.
Interiors will feature stepped seating areas, lounges set on platforms and private meeting spaces contained within glass boxes.
The firm wanted to establish a flexible design for the offices that is both “generic and conceptual” to help create a long-lasting headquarters for the bank.
“It embodies a new future for the bank, as well referencing the rich history and value set that has evolved over generations,” it said.
While private offices will be situated towards the top of the structure, the ground level will host public services – indicated by angles cut away in the base of the tower.
“Maintaining a high degree of permeability at street level is an essential element for the project, ensuring connectivity across the site and with the wider neighbourhood,” said the studio.
Snøhetta is led by Craig Dykers and Kjetil Trædal Thorsen. The firm has recently completed an extension of Mario Botta’s San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and a series of shops for the skincare brand Aesop.