There’s a new hotel/condo building in downtown Montreal, on the corner of Boul. René Lévesque and rue de la Montagne. It has got to be the shiniest building I’ve ever seen. It’s like the whole thing is made of glass and 18/10 stainless steel. I look at it every time I’m sitting on a certain terrace bending my elbow after a long day’s work.

It’s a beautiful sight. I love the stepped balconies and roofs, and the way it shimmers against a blue sky in the afternoon. Unfortunately, from my vantage point on the terrace, the IBM/Marathon building looms up from behind, but at least that older building is also rather silvery too, so it makes for an interesting frame.

Shiny silver

A pint or two later in the day, when the sun is getting low in the sky, the steely surface reflects ol’ sol’s dying colors, taking on a nice golden sheen. It’s a beautiful transformation to watch as you sit there, feeling the white hot heat of day slip into the bronzy heat of evening.

shiny gold

No Photoshop tricks here, folks. That’s how it really looks. (Photos taken 90 minutes apart.)

No doubt the condos in that building are outrageously priced, and I have no idea what it adds to the city’s architectural culture from an academic point of view. But it’s a fine looking façade from my chair on the terrace, and I find it hard to pull my eyes away from it.

10 thoughts on “Shiny

  1. Aaaaaaaaahhhh, Summer!

    When you can just sit there and simply enjoy the concept of just focusing (for a while at least) on what’s beyond your glass.

    Sessed la vee!

    I have a study on clouds on the half hour as viewed from beyond my Rum Smoothie from my balcony yesterday…

  2. I was just thinking about that building this morning as I was walking past it. At first I hated it because I don’t like that dome/crown on the corner. After looking at it closer I find that the building has other nice elements, but I think that the architect was trying to do too many things at the same time. It’s like a train wreck of nice details that create a jumbled mass overall. The corner of the top that you focused on is quite nice, but then there’s the cylindrical corner on the other side. Then there’s a dark lower middle story element that’s nice on it’s own, but doesn’t relate to the parts above or below it.

    That said, I’m a fan of stainless and brushed aluminum. As you point out, those materials do some interesting things under different lighting.

  3. Frank, I think you’re right. From ground level, on location, it is a bit of a train wreck. (The building is called Le Crystal de la Montagne.) But this particular view, where we only see the top, and in direct afternoon/evening light, is quite spectacular.

  4. In general, I like Montreal architecture, especially the newer glass stuff downtown.

    However, I HATE the guy who seemingly one-handedly designed all the apartment buildings (including mine) in an orgy of mid-sixties enthusiasm.

    But in general, Montreal’s skyline is one to be proud of.

    Great photos. You got a new job?

  5. Yes, Nick, I started a new job on June 9. Unfortunately it’s nowhere near the vantage point described in this post, so that view will be seen less often.

  6. I always wonder who lives in those overpriced condos. I mean okay, so you save on a bus pass — urr wait, these people have expensive cars too! Given the average income in Québec and the new over-the-top rents in any semi-nice neighborhood… I don’t quite understand why those expensive condo towers keep going up. Or for whom. I also can’t help thinking they’ll be empty in a decade or so… (But then again, the things I don’t understand at a gut level can fill many, many warehouses…)

  7. It’s true that people who live in such places don’t really worry about the price of a bus pass. I’ve come to realize that there are a lot more people with money in this town than I’d previously thought. But like you, I’m surprised at how many there are.

    Like you say, given the average family income in Montreal, most people couldn’t afford such places. (The penthouse apartments in these places can run 2 or 3 million.) On the other hand, most of the units in these places aren’t penthouses. Typically there’s 20 or 30 floors of merely “luxury” condos (running $400,000 – $700,000), with a two or three penthouses on top.

    Mind you, not a lot of people can drop 700K on a condo either. But it’s generally not young/working class folks who buy them. I think the typical buyer is a couple of professionals in their 40 or 50s with grown kids and a lot of equity in their suburban houses that they bought 20 years ago. Sell the house, apply the profit against the cost of the condo, and bingo. Luxury downtown apartment for next to nothing.

  8. Right. But fifteen years later, will those same people be happy to retire… in the middle of downtown? Not quite senior-o-rama… (I do understand that “seniors” are evolving quite fast and in 15 years will not be what we grew up thinking of as “seniors”.) Can they really think they’ll find somebody, in 15-20 years, who’ll be where they are now and want to give them what they think their pricy 15-year old condo is worth? Maybe. I disagree, but hey — they’ve proven more than I have that they can manage money.

    Maybe it’s just me. I can’t imagine any circumstance where I’d find it even okay to spend that much money on something that doesn’t come with its own lake (etc.!). Yet I do have a vivid imagination…

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