Massive circle building facade rolls into Montreal’s iconic skyline

Click to play video: 'Unique building joins Montreal’s iconic skyline'
Unique building joins Montreal’s iconic skyline
The facade of a new mixed-use, high-rise project in Montreal's Griffintown neighbourhood is taking shape. While toted as the ecofriendly building of the future, its grand design is getting all the attention. Global's Brayden Jagger Haines spoke with the artist.

From the 1000 De La Gauchetiere building to the famous Farine Five Roses sign, Montreal’s skyline has its fair share of iconic staples.

However, its newest addition is sparking a divided reaction.

“It’s the ugliest building I’ve ever seen,” Old Port resident Robert Kline said while walking the Lachine canal.

“It’s the first thing you see when you come into Montreal. I can’t believe the city gave them a permit to build so close to the Farine Five Roses sign.”

Measuring 18 storeys tall, the massive white circle facade of the new Haleco Highrise is so prominent it can be seen from across the river on the South Shore.

On the north face, a mirror blue and green circle overlooks the Bonaventure expressway. That is flanked by a large wolf painted on glass windows.

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For Griffintown resident Jasmine Renaud, seeing the building progress has been startling.

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“I saw a nice building going up and then I saw all the colours and circles and it was just a bit too artsy for the area,” Renaud said.

Looking to round out the edges of Montreal square buildings, artist Marc Seguin says it is a dream to see his art come to life beside such established architecture in Montreal.

“I think I still pinch myself every day when I see it,” Seguin said.

Seguin says like all art, he understands if not all Montrealers take to his piece and that’s perfectly normal.

“I’m being aggressed every day by ugly architecture so in that sense I understand. It’s in human nature to be afraid of change,” Seguin said.

According to the real estate agency behind the multi-purpose space, Cogir, the design has meaning and symbolism.

“The representation of the she-wolf evokes a community rooted in all civilizations, while the round circle symbolizes a central gathering point highlighting the circular economy, a fundamental value of the Haleco project,” spokesperson Brigitte Pouliot said.

The facade design for the project was approved by the city’s executive committee in April of last year, according to city officials.

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The building, consisting of residential apartment units, office space and retail outlets, is designed to be carbon-neutral when finished.

It is being touted as the city infrastructure of the future.

Work crews are also using renewable construction materials to build the highrise complex.

The project includes more than 300 apartment units leased at market value and will include dozens of subsidized places reserved for affordable and social housing.

Promoters and the mayor hope the sustainable lifestyle this building is designed to embrace will serve as a template for future projects in the city.

The complete facade and landscaping of the project are set to be completed by the end of the fall.

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