Extreme conversion: Soaring Canadian church transformed into contemporary library

The library is named for a successful local children's author 

March 31, 2014 |

Even before the St. Denys-du-Plateau Church was converted into a library, it was an unusual building. Designed by the late Jean-Marie Roy in 1964, the house of worship in Quebec had a unique and dynamic volume—the building evoked a huge tent inflated by the wind. 

When Dan Hanganu Architectes and Côté Leahy Cardas Architectes took on the conversion project, they wanted to respect the original building. Almost all of the original structure remains, along with two additions. 

What was once the nave now contains the library's shelves and work areas, while the new addition houses the administrative offices and community hall. This separation allows for the community hall to be open even when the library is closed, according to Dezeen.

Preserving the structure's existing volume was paramount for the architects, and they did this without closing off the spacious nave. In addition, "to accentuate the fluidity of this volume, the solid soffit above the window has been replaced by glass panel which allows each beam to visually slip seamlessly to its exterior steel base—a revelation of visual continuity," the firms said in a press release. 

The new community hall and offices are contained in the larger of the two additions, which replaces the former presbytery. However, the new part of the building reserves the same footprint. Three different types of glass panels were used to construct this area: clear, silk-screened and colored. The second addition satisfies a requirement for an emergency escape staircase, and is also paneled with colored glass. 

The firms sum up this design: "Building on transparency and reflection, the architects have made a strong statement with color at the ends of the building, an allusion to the vibrant, bold colors of the 1960s, which contrast the whiteness and brilliance newly captured in the remarkable form of the original church." 

Now the Monique-Corriveau Library, the facility is named for a successful local children's author. 

Take a look at the finished conversion below. All photos by Stéphane Groleau.

Overlay Init