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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered



  1. IT’S no beauty, but you can’t argue it doesn’t MESH IN WITH THE URBAIN FABRIC!


  2. The Kravitz family was asked if they wanted to operate a restaurant on the ground floor of the hotel. It was hoped to a “new” Ben’s, but they refused.

  3. The other two walls of this building have no windows. More blind walls downtown, just what Montreal needed.

    The architect tried to make the walls beautiful with some ornamentation but IMO she failed.

  4. Hotels and restaurants — now there are things we need more of downtown.

  5. On the other hand, at least they’ll be open after 4:30!

  6. mare: those two walls are on property lines, by law they have to be left blank. Eventually new buildings will be built against those walls which would cover the windows if they were to be built. Concerning the ornamentation, whether it’s good or bad is one thing but at least there’s actually something. Most of the blank walls on property lines in the are just drab blank concrete walls.

  7. Density good. Generic office building meh. Loss of an icon bad.

  8. Awful. This is what we get when we follow the ‘everything must fit’ rules. It is not the way great cities are built. This is cheap-looking, ugly, un-imaginative, safe, NOT what Montreal is. They really tried to match the old Mount Royal Hotel (Les Cours) down to the colors. We can’t make new buildings look like the old so why bother. We seem to always complain about density and height and views but never about architecture and design. BRAVO MONTREAL. MEDIOCRITY AT ITS BEST. I HOPE EVERYONE WHO IS AN ADVOCATE OF ‘ IT MUST FIT’ IS HAPPY WITH THIS.

  9. This building is way too short for this piece of land. It should be 30 stories minimum here, and use up the whole lot.

    And does it hurt to use some steel and glass once and a while?

  10. The Kravitz family barely operated Ben’s for the last few years it was open. I liked Ben’s because of the building itself. It was practically a time capsule. The food and service were atrocious. The waiters in particular were all rude and creepy.

    The last time we went in, we found out that the only food available for sale was smoked meat sandwiches and strawberry cheesecake. The waiter would not come right out and say that though. he just ket saying they were out of everything we ordered until we stumbled on smoked meat sandwich and strawberry cheesecake.

    Does anyone know who bought the interior furnishings from Ben’s? I would love to buy an old booth or a table.

  11. Meh indeed. This doesn’t preclude that more exciting looking project they’ve been touting for the Mansfield corner for some time, does it? What ever became of that?

  12. the food wasn’t the greatest but i loved it there. the tackiness and the snarling waiters!

  13. I was very surprised to see that the whole block wasn’t developed all at the same time. I had always figured that some land-holding company was just waiting for Ben’s to move/close for some larger project to be launched.

  14. Shawn has really nailed it “meh”. What a waste of the corner, and as usual for Montreal they build right where a historic building was instead of the parking lots that completely surround the site. This is supposed to be a high-end hotel by the way though it looks too boring to be a high end anything.

    It’s a shame that Bens is gone though I did hear that the food and service were pretty terrible for the last few years. Could the architects not have incorporated the original building into the new one? The curve of one side of the new building is supposed to be “reminiscent” of the curve of the Bens building but I think that gesture is pretty weak.

    Someone asked about the furniture and fittings from Bens, I heard that there was a sale/auction a while ago for all that stuff. Not sure if some shop bought up most of it or not.

    Somebody also asked about the adjacent site and yes there is still a project planned there but it seems to be starting late (they should have broken ground by now based on the completion date I saw last). According to the picture I saw it will be a very generic modern looking glass tower for offices. Still better than the current parking lot though.

  15. Voici l’édifice qui devait se situer aux abords de l’emplacement Ben’s.

    L’annonce date de octobre 2006. Je ne sais pas ou en ait rendu le développement de ce gratte-ciel. La dernière fois que j’en ai entendu parlé dans les journaux, il était mis sur la glace à cause de la crise économique.

    Si vous regardez bien l’image de synthèse, l’architecte avait prévu d’intégrer le volume de l’ancien Ben’s dans la façade.

  16. This is/was a joint venture between Hines and SITQ. Hines has pulled out as of this week.

  17. Office vacancy rates spiked in Montreal with the onset of the financial crisis. In 2006, when the prelims on the adjacent lot were done, the city was absorbing about a million sqft of office space annually. In the last 9 months, office vacancy rates in Montreal have gone from under 6% to close to 12% when the next reports are published. We will not see an office tower rise for quite some time.

  18. Wow! Another atrocious building to be built in Montreal… Long live cheap, easy, ugly, bland, plain, uncreative, boring, sad, architecture… makes me wanna walk less and less the streets of Montreal. Whatever happened to creativity!??!?!? Innovation!?!?! Isn’t Montreal supposed to be a UNESCO city of design? I’m very confused. Are we that broke that we care not for aesthetics even a little bit?

    I used to think that all those open parking spaces downtown needed to be built on as quickly as possible, well, I’ve changed my mind.

  19. What were you expecting? An architectural masterpiece on De Maisonneuve? At least it’s better looking than that decrepit Ben’s building.

  20. Why is boxy bad? More elegant perhaps.

  21. Yes indeed! Interesting to compare the designs in Carlos and Chris’ link and see the change. And sad. I loved the initial design.

  22. I don’t think it’s that atrocious.. i kind of like some of the retro modernistic features like the framing of the windows which mirrors one of the buildings in the quartier des fourrures.

  23. Yeah I think I might’ve went a little overboard. But I simply think we need more design, bold design that is! Something that sticks out, that makes you say: “Have you seen the new hotel they built on so and so street!?”

    The thing is, at the stage of the initial proposal there was a bolder approach to the project… or maybe is it still in the plans? But anyhow, I feel like a lot of great ideas are brought forth in initial proposals and after several public hearings and what not, the boldness of these great ideas are usually dropped, because, let’s face it, Montrealers are scared of it. Why?

    Here are a few examples of boldness:
    A Radisson Hotel in Glasgow

    The Cooper Square Hotel in New York

    The Quincy Hotel, Quincy

    Or the Standard Hotel, New York

  24. The condo hotel proposed by Ali Khan behind buffet Maharaja was bold. It got destroyed by public consultation. Too tall, too different, too bold.

    Thinking bold is futile, with many members here the first line of defence.

  25. complete waste of space. should of been twice the height & mixed use considering it’s at the heart of downtown.

    it reminds me of the crescent hotel that was replaced by e-commerce place a few years back.

  26. Could’ve argued the same thing when PVM was proposed in 1959 :p

    I love the parking lots and desolate nature of the Guy-Crescent area too. We must preserve it.

  27. It’s unbelivable how ugly this strip of land is. de maisonneuve is absolutely atrocious. everything built recently on de mais from guy to mcgill are soul destroying.

  28. Tell me about it Edward! I lived for two years at 1229 McKay. I cherished every time I walked past the abandoned Desjardins seafood restaurant and the Bar-“B”-Que parking lot. Also, I like the “friche urbaine” (that’s “rape zone” en anglais) at the old Overdale lot. I say we mettre the area en valeur by precluding all development.

  29. As a matter of fact, we should demolish every existing buildings on all surrounding blocks and make them into parking lots. Let’s bring it back to the 60’s!

  30. Hear hear Guillaume! The stationnements are une icône incontournable of the unique heritage of this historic quartier that must be mettre’d in valeur. The only way we should develop them is with TRIPLEXES or maybe a centre de petite enfance! Or social housing, peut-maybe.

  31. “… the boldness of these great ideas are usually dropped, because, let’s face it, Montrealers are scared of it. Why?”

    Because they aren’t cheap…

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