Interview with architect Jean-Pierre LeTourneux
In order to carry out a large-scale real estate project like ESTWEST, in accordance with the regulations in place and within a respectable time-frame, several stakeholders are involved. Today you will meet some of the artisans who play a key role in the design and implementation of this project. We’ll begin with Jean-Pierre LeTourneux, associate architect of the prestigious firm Menkès Shooner Dagenais LeTourneux Architectes. With more than 30 years of experience in the field, Mr. LeTourneux’s reputation is well established and his expertise speaks for itself.
Mr. LeTourneux, what’s your role in the ESTWEST project?
“At Menkès Shooner Dagenais LeTourneux Architectes, we have a team dedicated to the architectural realization of the project. This is a major project when we think of the six buildings that will be built over the next few years, in several distinct phases. Now that the project has been conceptualized, we’re at the stage of drawing plans and specifications. We’re developing the architecture, housing typology, urban planning, layout of ground spaces, gardens, etc. This is a long-term process, particularly because of the approval process with municipal authorities. At this point, unit sales are well underway for the ESTWEST project, which is why we’re actively working on the construction plans. I would say that right now, we’re at about 30% of progress.
What are the project’s main architectural inspirations?
“We’re trying to create a project that stands out in the city while keeping Montreal’s identity and overall design in mind. One of our main inspirations for ESTWEST was Westmount Square, a building made by the architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in the sixties and located only a street corner away from the project. We liked the idea of a darker and more sober-looking building. While the materials we’re working with are very different from those used at the time, we opted for dark materials on the outside of the towers’ walls, while the central part is much lighter to let the light in. This was also our aim for the Peter McGill Centre.”
Where do you get your inspiration from?
“With a team of over 100 people, it’s a whole world of designers and professionals working together to bring creativity and ingenuity to our projects. We travel; we attend seminars and exhibitions; we read; we do our research on the web; we take courses to keep up to date… In short, we’re busy bees. Our teams exchange about the technical aspect of the projects as well as their various elements of design and finishing. Collaboration and teamwork are great inspiration and innovation boosters in a working group.”
What are the current architectural trends for condo projects?
“There has been a significant boom in construction in recent years, and spaces are now being conceived so that residents can live in a community. People need to talk, exchange, converse, even if they live alone in a condo tower. For example, there are no longer any concrete walls between the balconies of units, but rather glass, which creates a certain intimacy but also opens the door to exchange. Community gardens, terraces, rooftop pools and gyms are an integral part of new projects, and today there is a real tendency for community spirit.”
We would like to thank Mr. LeTourneux for taking the time to tell us a little more about his involvement in the project and the major trends in the industry!