Montmagny Courthouse, Montmagny, Canada
CCM2 architectes + Groupe A + Roy-Jacques Architectes

This project, completed in 2014 was a collaboration between CCM2 Architectes, Groupe A and Roy Jacques Architectes. The project consisted of maintaining the 950 sq. m of the 1865 historical building while adding an extension of 3410 sq. m for a project area of 4360 sq. m. It includes three new courtrooms and new spaces for the planning of all essential services and offices for the proper functioning of a courthouse in the 21st century.

In a design inspired by sober contemporary architecture, the expansion is designed to showcase the historical aspect of the existing building. The new courthouse will be the only one to offer all the services of the judicial district of Montmagny. An integrated design process was established to ensure the involvement of the client and all the professionals throughout the project development to respond to every complex operating criteria. The design of the building reflects the high ecological criteria for LEED-NC Gold certification and this was achieved by the integration of low tech sustainable strategies to meet the budget.

The concept of duality between the enhancing of the existing architecture in harmony with the contemporary character of its extension guided the entire project development. In a building where supreme rigor and rectitude reign, the architectural gestures are striking and sharp. The physical as well as imaginary lines define the boundaries between public and private spaces and between ancient and contemporary. The lighting holds here a leading role in the materialization of the architectural concept. Right from the entrance, the ceiling is characterized by a line of fluorescent light guiding guests towards a monumental staircase. In classical architecture, this is an identity symbol of great public institutions, here treated with modernity and fantasy, momentarily breaking the regularity of the space. The outer shell of the sculptural element, made of dyed black ash wood, contrasts with the pure white quartz stairway and the varnished interior walls. The effect is magnified by LED lighting that is concealed within the upper part of the railing. Continuing our ascent to the upper floor where there was a regroup of the waiting, meeting and hearing rooms, the line of light reappears in a suspended vertical zigzag, ending its journey under the vast cathedral ceiling like an unusual movement frozen in time, offering a certain lightness in this rational universe.

In addition to answering to very specific lighting needs, in terms of signals, functionality and safety, the architect team and LumiGroup have managed to extract the lighting’s creative potential and therefore bring a defined contemporary energy to the Montmagny courthouse.

Tuesday 17 Mar 2015

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