When Jean Marie-Roy built the St Denys du Plateau church in Quebec City in 1964, it was a modern wonder. At the time, almost 90% of Quebecois attended church regularly. Now it is barely 8% and churches are being desanctified and converted all over the Province; Arcade Fire turned one into a recording studio. Now Dan Hanganu has turned this one into a library. It is a wonderful demonstration of the adaptive reuse of a mid-century building for more modern uses.
Unlike church use, library use is actually increasing across North America as they adapt to computers and other uses. So now it is the The Monique-Corriveau Library, named after a famous Quebec childrens’ author. Dan Hanganu writes:
Converting and expanding such an eloquent example of modern Quebec architectural heritage is a very delicate operation which must be approached with respect and humility.[…] Saint-Denys-du-Plateau Church deserves this special consideration due to its unusual, dynamic volume, which evokes a huge tent inflated by the wind and anchored to the ground with tensioners.
Dan Hanganu has a wonderful feel for basic materials; His Montreal museum of archaeology and history at Pointe-à-Callière is one of my favorite buildings in that city, all exposed steel studs and metal. He continues that here;
Building on transparency and reflection, the architects have made a strong statement with colour at the ends of the building, an allusion to the vibrant, bold colours of the 1960s, which contrast the whiteness and brilliance newly captured in the remarkable form of the original church.
Churches and books certainly go well together; here are a few others we have shown on TreeHugger: