From past to present: The library and town hall of Saint-Léonard

From past to present: The library and town hall of Saint-Léonard

Built in the early 1980s, the expansions of the library and town hall of Saint-Léonard were inspired by brutalism and constructed in response to the mayor's desire to improve his borough with a strong public project. Adding a gallery and several exhibition rooms was meant to attract crowds around themes of art and culture. 
Because of his previous experience in the firm Cinq-Mars, Roger Desmarais had very good relations with the borough of Saint-Léonard. While he was attending a municipal cocktail party—where he was a regular in the 1980s—he met the mayor, Antonio Di Ciocco. The two men quickly became friends and whenever the politician planned to build a major project to improve his municipality, he entrusted its design and execution to his friend, the architect.

One of these was the expansion of the town hall and the library buildings, which the mayor found unfitting for their public role. Di Cocccio wanted a building that could match his ambitions; and one that would become the symbol of his term in office. Roger Desmarires started working on the project the very next day, selecting a brutalist aesthetic to reflect the tradition at the times of strong, progressive, and steadfast public buildings that were meant to symbolize a strong, progressive, and steadfast government. The repetition of the arches gave the entrance to the double building a strong presence, among which, it is easy to imagine local personalities rushing to the reception hall. 

Integrating a cultural centre, the Galerie Port-Maurice, and several exhibition rooms aimed to bring art into the population's everyday lives by showing contemporary works. The erection of Michel Goulet's sculpture-fountain, Trait d'union, in front of the building marked one of the first 1% artistic integrations in a public architectural project by the Quebec government.

Crédit photo: Sergio Clavijo

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