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Edison Residence, Montreal, Canada

Thursday 07 Aug 2014

Edison Residence brings history to life

Edison Residence by KANVA in Montreal, Canada
Photographs: Marc Cramer. Drawings: KANVA 
Edison Residence by KANVA in Montreal, Canada Edison Residence by KANVA in Montreal, Canada Edison Residence by KANVA in Montreal, Canada Edison Residence by KANVA in Montreal, Canada Edison Residence by KANVA in Montreal, Canada Edison Residence by KANVA in Montreal, Canada
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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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