Glinting addition to Musee Stewart Du Fort De L’Ile Ste-Helene completed by Les Architectes Fabg in Montreal
Dealing with life safety issues and accessibility requirements in old buildings comes with the territory of being an architect. But the way architects choose to address such things is typically perfunctory and rarely on the level of high art, unless, of course, they bring something special to the mix.
At the Stewart Museum in Montreal, a former weapons arsenal of 1820s vintage that was converted to a military museum in 1956, Canadian architect, Les Architectes Fabg, designed a new glass stair tower and elevator that raises the design bar for dealing with accessibility in historic buildings.
The project provides for a new elevator in the courtyard and an architectural staircase to improve universal accessibility and the circulation through the museum’s three levels. The elevator is covered with mirrors, creating the effect of a ‘kaleidoscope’ that binds the new construction to its historical context.
Completed in May 2011, the project costs $7m Canadian and includes, in addition to the two elements here, upgrades to the building’s mechanical and electrical and life safety systems.