When the Mile-Ex becomes the architect's quarter
The Mile-Ex neighbourhood (the name is derived from the contraction of Mile-End and Park-Extension, otherwise called Alexandra-Marconi by those in the know) is active, reinvents and revitalizes itself and boils over with its design and architecture. Formerly the home of many industries – notably textile and food transformation – this urban village is today filled with businesses active in new technologies and many architects have decided to set up shop there. That is the case for the very talented Henri Cleinge, the prestigious firm of Saucier + Perrotte having opened its offices there.
What is the secret of this attraction? Most likely, the wealth of diversity plays a major role. Such a mix appears to favour the redefinition of the city’s scenery and to reassign the patterns of a diverse area characterized by dead-end streets in which one is just as likely to find industrial buildings as small duplex housing. In fact, an increasing number of businesses are starting up there – restaurants, bars, micro-breweries and other artistic galleries.
Stéphane Rasselet, architect and co-founder of the firm _naturehumaine architecture and design has had the opportunity to carry out a few projects in the area mandated by the same developer, namely the Alexandra Residence and the Saint-Zotique Residences. When we dropped by his firm’s offices, he highlighted the benefits offered by a neighbourhood such as Mile-Ex and singled out a number of elements related to his move into the area.
“We have seen some major changes over the last ten years. At the time, there were still a few vacant lots and prices were quite reasonable. Obviously, such is much less the case today, but we have been able to observe the appearance of some beautiful proposals. For an architect, that is a very nice combination.”
Having carried out _naturehumaine’s two magnificent projects, Stéphane Rasselet, among his other endeavours, is currently cooperating on the development of an open-plan office building to be located on Jean-Talon.
The 300-unit Ateliers Castelnau housing project will therefore find its place within an environment where diverse coexistence has already proved its worth. Promoted as one of the most sought-after areas among a certain category of globe-trotters, the Mile-Ex neighbourhood will undoubtedly witness the emergence of unusual locations. Original and friendly locations will continue to establish themselves there. A word to the wise!
Sailing through Mile Ex
In 2016, Vogue Magazine referred to the neighbourhood as Montreal’s most popular. As for the site How I travel, compiling from a short list of 15 very cosmopolitan cities, it has predicted that in 2018(!), the area would become nothing less than the most popular in the world.
Now, your Ateliers Castelnau newsletter states that if the trend continues, Mile Ex is not through with attracting those who seek the coolest places ever! Its look, its diversity, its nonchalance and its lifestyle provide it with formidable assets. We love its bars, its restaurants, its parks, the Jean-Talon market, the artistic studios as well as that certain something which pushes it into a category of must-see neighbourhoods in which to calmly stroll about.
Choosing to locate Ateliers Castelnau there is our way to move into the area. This architectural project, itself an hymn to the industrial past and to the handicraft industry which was nurtured there, aptly blends in with the surrounding urban fabric. We are taking root in a place where the urge to walk is at its highest, where the use of a bicycle is a major show of civility and where the need to rely on local products is nearly compulsory and we hope to make new friends, one neighbour at a time. Naturally.