Storefront windows that had been replaced or partially obstructed over time were restablished, restoring their transparency and the visual connection to the Square Phillips.
The upper floors, previously the business’ office space, were converted into 132 hotel rooms.
A two-storey glass volume now crowns the building – a subtle intervention that respectfully contrasts the richly ornamented façade while evoking the original diamond workshop.
Below grade, obsolete mechanical rooms and vaults were converted into a spa.
Finally, the new restaurant Henri Brasserie Française, conceived by Jean Salette in collaboration with l’Atelier Zébulon Perron, occupies a portion of the ground floor facing the Square.
The architects sought to preserve existing historical elements while updating the building systems to correct serious deficiencies.
Great attention to detail was paid not only to aesthetic elements such as original plaster mouldings and existing columns, but also to vital components that would ensure the building’s longevity.
By evoking the past of a business and individual that have both left marks on Montreal’s history, NEUF successfully reasserts the presence of Edward Maxwell’s iconic Phillips Square landmark. These efforts have ensured the Henry Birks & Sons’ building will continue to stand out in the city’s cultural landscape for generations to come.
Photo credit: Adrien Williams and Alexandre Parent / Studio Point de Vue