The project brief was unusual: “Ensure me freedom in my advanced years.”
In 2013, an elderly citizen sought out the services of Gary Conrath. Her living quarters, situated on the third storey of a small condominium building were no longer appropriate.
Following the advice of her architect, the client purchased a vacant lot in Verdun situated on a principal artery where a full range of retail businesses are readily accessed. For further destinations, the site provided several alternatives to automobile driving. Bus travel, as preferred by seniors is immediately available in front, and Montréal’s subway system is but a short walk away.
In spatial terms, the planning facilitates eventual wheelchair use. A smooth level surface connects the city sidewalk, the main entrance and ground floor, as well as the outdoor patio-pool garden yard.
In architectural terms, the design aims to establish a new equilibrium that both challenges and respects the district’s heritage of housing created for the industrial workers and their families of a previous era. To this end, new relationships are proposed between the solid brick and wood envelope and the transparent glass surfaces.