For their new Montreal office building, software company Gsoft procured over 70,000 square feet on the ground floor of the iconic Nodelec, one of the largest brick buildings in North America. Dating from 1913, the building hosted a coil factory for decades and has been subsequently renovated. The latest transformation, by Linebox Studio, expresses the company’s passion for skateboarding while still maintaining the building’s original charm and character.
Preserved building elements include concrete columns with rounded angles and thick riveted steel plates, high vaulted ceilings, large red brick walls and a magnificent metal structure on which the existing cathedral roof rests.
While researching the history of the building, the architects found photos dating from the early 19th century showing the original appearance of the central hall space. Inspired by its appearance, the architects decided to reinstall skylights, sandblast both the walls and metals trusses and revive the original red brick. Large metal beams previously used for a lifting system were kept and are now emphasizes with a thin ribbon of lighting.
Core the GSoft’s DNA is skateboarding. As such, elements of skateboarding and skate culture are represented in the architecture by encouraging freedom to explore space and engage with one’s surroundings in a physical way. For example, the entire building is designed to be ‘rideable’ and there are always numerous ways to get from point A to Point B – direct routes or through hidden passages – again, it is all about exploration.
And of course, don’t forget the half-pipe (for real).