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Edison Residence, Montreal, Canada

Thursday 07 Aug 2014

Edison Residence brings history to life

Photographs: Marc Cramer. Drawings: KANVA 
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KANVA revives history of Edison Residence site through photoengraved concrete facade 

McGill University in Montreal is now the proud owner of a new student residence, courtesy of design studio KANVA. The 30-unit residential property is situated on a modestly-sized lot near the university’s Milton gates, its history providing the main inspiration for KANVA’s design concept.

In the early 20th century a stone residence dominated the site, before being lost in its entirety to a fire. The design team took this as a starting point when addressing the form of the student residence, keeping in mind the site’s position in a Montreal heritage zone.

The result is a photoengraved concrete façade by Reckli, Solubrik and Saramac, which displays a series of stills taken from the film Montreal Fire Department on Runners (Edison, 1901). This particular film was selected as a reference to the fire that razed the original building and to highlight the work of Thomas Edison.

KANVA explains: “The project encapsulates an architecture ‘parlante’; an architecture that heightens the intellectual and perceptual experience of its inhabitants by stimulating active looking… The process of photoengraving concrete was selected for its sensitive properties; it does not overwhelm the viewer but rather invites the user to re-imagine a story.”

The 30 private rooms are supported by communal living spaces such as a kitchen, lounge and living room. Each of the residential units sports floor-to-ceiling storage across one wall with space for a desk and a bed, with raw concrete exposed on the wall surfaces.

A vivid shade of yellow is the main colour component selected by KANVA and can be found in both the external and internal finishes. Externally the hue is used as a marker for the living modules and in the porte-cochère.   


Architects: KANVA
Mechanical/Electrical Engineer: Bouthillette Parizeau
Structural Engineer: NCK inc.
Landscape Architect: Vlan paysages
Contractor: KI
Photoengraved concrete supplier: Reckli, Solubrik, Saramac

Key Facts

Status Completed
Value 0(m€)
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