For those who knew the place, la Maison du Rotin had become an institution in Montreal renowned for its 1980s style Asian furniture. Its owner, Mr Chang, was preparing a well-deserved retirement and wanted this historically significant site to be highlighted. Founded in 2005, the architecture firm L. McComber was looking for a place to expand its practice. When they discovered Mr Chang’s business, the team fell in love with Montreal’s charming Rosemont district. The firm was ready to design a new dedicated space.
Out of the architect’s vision for La Maison du Rotin, a mixed development project was born with its cosy office spaces and welcoming townhouses. With the developer and general contractor Nicolas Rasselet, the architects designed an accessible product for families wishing to settle in this trendy neighbourhood. Introducing Off Plaza!
Create affordable townhouses in a trendy neighbourhood
The architects worked hard to create four 3-bedroom units with terraces, two penthouses, two studios and two businesses on the ground floor on a land measuring only 50′ x 87′. The three-storey building with mezzanines also offers five parking spots. To achieve that, the architects disposed the dwellings around a large inner courtyard distributed by two carriage entrances, one giving access to the street and the other to the garages. Half of the units have a view of St-Hubert Street while the other half faces the alleyway. Apart from the two studios on the 2nd floor, each unit has its own mezzanine that opens up to a large private terrace. The double-height thus formed provides a beautiful natural light for the living rooms. It is this high density that has made it possible to keep the project’s affordable price.
Bringing light through the courtyard
The front façade opposes a matt and horizontal Saint-Marc stone pattern to a vertical ultra-reflective steel cladding. In the inner courtyard, the cladding brings light to the ground floor, providing beautiful daylight for the back-store. Built below the sidewalk level, the two twin commercial spaces showcase on Saint-Hubert Street, inviting passers-by to take a short break before heading towards the Plaza. A double staircase built of galvanized steel connects all the apartments throughout the inner courtyard. The large central planting bin with its perennials keeps the freshness in summer and enliven this friendly space where co-owners meet for informal conversations. On the roof, private gardens crossing each wooden terrace infuse the same charming ambience.
Audacious space configuration
The four townhouses and two penthouses are accessible through the third floor. The residents enter the living room to find the kitchen and dining room generously open on the cityscape. The bedrooms of the townhouses are organized on the lower floor (second) while a second living room on the mezzanine can be used as a guest room or office. This beautiful room opens to the terraced gardens.
In the centre of the building, the two penthouses are built on top of the two studios. This creative layout has created eight very functional and similar units in a vibrant neighbourhood where this type of real estate product did not exist.
The L. McComber studio, a showcase for passerby!
On the ground floor, the new building features the firm’s studio on the north side and non-profit organization Écohabitation on the south side. Built directly on the bedrock, the two offices are located 3 feet below the level of the sidewalk. The concrete of the foundation walls and the slab on the ground are thus exposed to provide a raw and warm feeling to the space. The level difference through the large windows creates a certain distance between the studio and the sidewalk inviting the passerby to take a furtive look at the creative work of the architects.
Tailor-made furnishings – custom-made furniture
The space is entirely custom-designed, from the foundations to the ceiling, from the furniture to the equipment: “We wanted a space that would be just like us. Sober but elegant, the interiors are designed for our needs and made with the collaboration of trusted craftsmen. Almost all the furniture is designed by our team. The whole forms a welcoming showcase. When we receive our clients, we are proud to show them what we can do! ». With his experience as a general contractor and carpenter, Laurent McComber succeeded in creating a new icon of Montreal design scene!
A successful bet!
As the booming real estate market in Montreal shows, families are looking for houses to stay in the city. Few products are available at reasonable prices. The Rosemont district attracts people who want to live close to neighbourhood shops, public transport and green spaces for children. The Off Plaza offered all that and more! Located a few steps from the under-construction Plaza Saint-Hubert, the challenge was to develop two commercial and 8 residential units, including 4 townhouses, on such a small land that was once la Maison du Rotin. Thanks to its ingenious density, Off Plaza has overcome the challenge: to design the firm’s new offices while creating lively and affordable spaces for the residents of this beautiful neighbourhood!
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Project manager: Laurent McComberDesign team: Patrice Lebel, David Grenier, Audrey Milette-Monier, Philip Staszewski, Olivier Lord, Emmanuelle Dorais, Laurent McComber
General contractor: Nicora
Collaborators: Geniex, ingénieurs, Jeff Lee (Engel & Volkers Montréal)