Montreal is home to a wide variety of architectural styles influenced by the interplay of both French and English colonial legacies, yielding beautiful examples of Art Deco, Gothic Revival, and other distinctive structures. But there is another side to the city’s architecture, representing a less charming but still historically significant side to the city’s landmarks. Here are some examples of the austere Brutalist-style buildings found across Montreal.
Brutalist architecture is not remembered for its beauty. A popular style that emerged between 1950 and 1970, Brutalism is easily recognizable by its angular, geometric shapes, plain gray façades, and the use of concrete as the primary building material.
Habitat 67 is probably the most easily recognized examples of Brutalist architecture in the city—and even beyond. Built by architect Moshe Safdie for the 1967 World Expo that took place in Montreal, it was designed as a form of experimental modular housing. It incorporates a three-dimensional landscape of 354 stacked concrete “cubes” and combines two major housing styles: the urban garden residence and the modular high-rise apartment complex.
Verdun Metro Station
You can also head underground and find more prime examples of Brutalist influence. Many of the city’s metro stations were built during the heyday of this architectural movement, and Verdun is one of the most undeniable results. Heavy with impressive columns and concrete beams, you might feel as though you’re deep in an underground bunker during the Cold War. Other metro stations that are thoroughly Brutalist inside and out include Préfontaine, Lucien-L’Allier, Pie IX, and Angrignon—among others.
Pavillon Judith Jasmin de l’UQÀM
Pavillon Judith Jasmin at the Université du Quebec à Montreal is an example of a Brutalist approach that makes use of construction materials other than plain concrete—though the harsh effect is ultimately much the same. While the structure features brick externally, the interior is still largely concrete.
Viger Square is a large urban square that holds a long history as a public space in the city. It started off as a plot of marshland in the 1840s and was transformed into a series of markets before road infrastructure changed the character of the area in the 1970s; the Ville-Marie Expressway was constructed underground, and the area underwent redevelopment with a strong concrete theme.
Hôtel Le Germain
Although the interior of the Hôtel Le Germain contains a luxurious upscale hotel, the exterior is another one of Montreal’s Brutalist classics, with stiff angles and boxy geometrics, encased in heavy gray concrete.
Hôtel Le Germain, 2050 Mansfield St, Montreal, QC, Canada, +1 877 333 2050
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