If you’ve ever driven through Old Gatineau, you’ve probably come across Notre-Dame Market. The open-air red wooden beam structure was hard to miss, sporting colorful murals on the back of the building and occasionally housing local vendors selling fruits, vegetables and other handicrafts.
When the City of Gatineau set out to revitalize part of Notre-Dame Street in 2018, updating local market space was a key pillar of the plan. After issuing a call for tenders, the City entrusted the project to Confluence Architecture, formerly Mercier Pfalzgraf Architectes, a Gatineau firm known for its thoughtful and sustainable approach to design.
“In terms of architecture, they wanted something innovative, contemporary and consistent with the neighborhood,” explains Vincent Renaud, partner at Confluence Architecture. “As a first step in the rejuvenation process, they also wanted to show the community that they were aiming high with this project.”
Working closely with city and community representatives, Confluence Architecture replaced the aging A-frame structure with a modern, glass-encased building that not only pays homage to the original market, but better serves the community and its goals.
A natural design approach
Taking inspiration from the original structure, Confluence Architecture created a glued-laminated timber structure, wrapped in an aluminum cladding that mimics the look of wood. Floor-to-ceiling windows on both sides of the structure provide sweeping views of the streetscape and flood the space with natural light – an important factor in keeping with the spirit of a farmers market.
“By creating an enclosed space, it gives the community the ability to use the building all year round, but it was important that the space remained open and natural,” says Renaud.
For added visual interest at the front of the building, a wrap-around wooden sunshade was constructed, framing the large windows and marking a terrace around the building.
At the rear of the new structure is an original piece of Notre-Dame Market, which Confluence Architecture has committed to incorporating into the new design to preserve aspects of its historical significance.
Although marrying the two could have been a challenge, the team found a workaround by retaining a cross-section of the original structure and connecting the buildings with a new roof.
“We wanted to capture the essence of the space by using lots of wood to connect the old and the new,” he says. “It ensures continuity with what existed before.”
The spirit of Marché Notre-Dame can also be found inside the new building, with large wooden structural beams that become an instant focal point in the space, mimicking the rhythm of the market kiosks.
Designed to serve as both an artisan retail space, an event space and a bistro – fitted with a modern open-plan kitchen and pizza oven – Confluence Architecture sought to strike a balance between the high finishes and the natural elements that would found the space.
A clear line of sight runs down the middle of the room, which is meant to evoke the feeling of walking through vendor stalls, Renaud says, while polished concrete floors run through the main seating area and retail space. , reminiscent of the sidewalk that bordered the market. .
“The space has a signature feel that runs through the entire building,” he says. “Using sustainable materials was really important to connect the interior to the exterior space and make it cohesive.”
A new era
While the Confluence team is renowned for helping businesses evolve their spaces, the Gatineau architecture firm recently underwent its own transformation, renaming the company from Mercier Pfalzgraf Architectes to Confluence Architecture.
Under the leadership of Renaud and his partner Lino Alves, the duo decided to bring the company into a new era following the retirement of former owners Mercier and Pfalzgraf.
“We believe that architecture has a role to play in shaping our environment, and we incorporate it into every project we work on,” says Alves. “The business needed to reflect this approach to community development as we seek to take on new projects and challenges.”
The pair landed on Confluence Architecture not just as a reflection of their design approach, but as a geographic marker for the company. Translating to the meeting of two rivers, Renaud says it represents the work the team does in both Gatineau and Ontario – a bridge between communities.
“Architecture is technical but there is real beauty in the way it serves the community,” he adds. “We look forward to continuing to merge functionality and design into every project we touch.”
As part of this project, Confluence Architecture revisited the traditional typology of tertiary buildings. The intervention of the team is manifested by a dynamic geometry and a play of materials which aims to break up the volumes and to underline the angles at the corner of the street.
In order to amplify this urban positioning, Confluence Architecture has equipped each of the buildings with a pergola which covers an outdoor public space. These dramatic and uplifting pergolas, designed with staggered surfaces, generate excitement and curiosity, complementing the dynamism intended for the entire project.
As part of a collaboration between TFO Groupe Média and La Cité, space has been made available to TFO to move its Ottawa office and audiovisual production activities to the Aviation Parkway campus in La Cited.
The space is divided by a street-shaped hallway that isolates the TV studio, AV mixing room and sound booth on one side while meeting rooms and open workspaces are located on the other. other. The layout provides a diversity of moods and collaboration opportunities while preserving all existing production operations, including equipment storage, server room, typical office spaces and a kitchenette.