Photo credits: Félix Michaud
Year(s) of construction: 2021
Photo credits: Félix Michaud, photographer
Area: 3000 m2
Les Entreprises d’électricité E.G. Ltée
1050, rue de l’Industrie, Saint-Jérôme, Québec, Canada
-Samuel G. Labelle
Team studio Jean Verville architects:
Jean Verville, architect(lead architect)
Tania Paula Garza Rico, architect (studio director)
France Goneau (artistic advisor)
Rémi St-Pierre, architect
Samuel Landry, MA architecture
Camille Asselin, MA architecture
Jacob Éthier, MA architecture candidate
Bahia Burias, MA architecture candidate
Contractor: Ross Commodari, eng. and project manager (C.A.L. construction)
Digital Collages: Jean Verville + studio
Addressing the fictional potential of architectural space, the EG project is part of an actual hybridization between architecture and installation intervention. Fascinated by the photographic worlds illustrating the eclectic production of Jean Verville, clients, eager for unusual creative experiences, adopt the playful approach of the architect with passion, rigor, and sensitivity. The result is an architecture that is both functional and aesthetic, offering a minimalist and playful experience distinctive of the work of Studio Jean Verville architectes.
Prioritizing an architectural intervention with an assumed scenography, and falling within a strategy of minimizing its environmental impact, the project proposes the rehabilitation of a disused industrial building from the 1980s in order to establish the head office of Les Entreprises d’électricité E.G. Ltée, founded in 1951. By deploying 250 stainless steel strut channels, an imposing architectural device organizes distances and proximities, circulations, and groupings. These metal profiles, common in the electrical field, are used to fix the partitions, to support the furniture, and to camouflage all of the wiring. This profusion of elements composes an irregular frame that marks the space with vertical lines structuring the spatial delimitations. The industrial character, offered by the raw surfaces of the concrete, the shine of the stainless steel, and the translucent partitions unifying in an entity energized by accents of orange color, loads the space with an aesthetic cohesion emphasizing the re-interpretation of the open-plan office concept. Both minimalist and expressive, EG offers an environment indulgent of accumulation and excess to stimulate the participatory experience that is part of the daily life of its users.
Promoting a layout where employees can easily communicate with each other, the intervention combines private areas ensuring the need for physical distance for the protection and well-being of everyone, as well as meeting spaces, rest stations, and areas for sports and entertainment. The portion dedicated to offices, a space distributed in half-levels and proving too cramped for the needs of the company, requires a complete reconfiguration (reception, administrative offices, conference room, kitchen, employee room, and storage). The individual and collaborative workspaces, requiring a large area, are set up in a portion subtracted from the huge storage space of the building. Partially deconstructed, the existing firewall, made of concrete blocks, is transformed into an articulated railing and a staircase offering visual and physical access to this new sector located below the administrative spaces. This work area, defined by a new enclosure also in concrete blocks, constitutes a generous volume with a height of six meters below the ceiling, benefitting from level access with the immense warehouse area in order to optimize the functionality of the premises. In order to maximize the contribution of natural light, the huge garage door is replaced by a curtain wall. On the roof, the addition of six skylights, with dimensions that fit into the existing structural framework, helps provide increased natural lighting. These multiple light sources, filtered by translucent partitions, wrap the space in kinetic lighting that contributes to the theatricality of the experiment.