History was made July 8th, 2015 when the Mayor of Montreal, Denis Coderre, and the Mayor of the South-West borough (Arrondissement Sud-Ouest), Benoit Dorais, announced the planned rehabilitation for a tower which has bordered the Lachine Canal since the 1940s – a train and boat watch tower, which until recently, was no longer in use.
A little bit of history…
Intriguing because of its strange form, Wellington Tower is one of the iconic symbols of the “entrance” to Griffintown. Placed along the Lachine Canal, the former control tower was used by boats and trains alike who passed through the area, but has been abandoned for over ten years and is now in a state of advanced decrepitude. Confronted with this unfortunate reality, four creative labs came forth with designs to re-imagine the iconic building in 2013. Since that time, a variety of audiences were invited to discuss this cultural space and its implications.
Here is the winning design:
A project of requalification: Le Fabricatoire (The Fabricators)
The requalification of this space integrates the new values developed by the borough, echoing the artistic initiatives which have characterized the neighbourhood’s evolution in the last several years. In conciliating conservation and development, this new project makes innovation a synonym of respect of character and contextual integration for heritage spaces. With rich and diverse cultural programs, and a purposeful contemporary addition, the tower is clearly announcing its new vocation as cultural hot-bed!
On the program: A citizen’s cafe on the ground level, open 7 days a week for residents, as well as visitors and sports enthusiasts exploring the Smith Promenade. The Italian-style bistro will take its cues from restaurants like Gemma and Impasto in Montreal’s little-Italy. The local and seasonal menu will be inspired by the produce from an urban garden located on the roof of the Tower.
At the same time, a cultural arts center will be opened including an urban art residency program, lending a convivial atmosphere to the space. Above, an urban creative incubator is in the works, composed of an “exploratory” space for conception and a “maker-space” for creation, available to all courageous dreamers and initiators.
As the city puts it, “It’s a space for co-design and collective creation where designers, citizens and associations, artists, and institutions are co-actors…”
We can’t wait to discover the new space in 2017!
In the meantime, consider our friend the Forge Cadieux, on Rue Saint-Paul, who needs all the attention she can get! Calling all the heritage defenders…
Pour aller plus loin // For further reading :