Lareau Headquarters

Lareau Headquarters

Maurice Martel Architecte
Napierville, Canada
Project Year
Exhibition Centres

Adrien Willilams

Standing in the Middle of the Field

Maurice Martel Architecte as Architects

To suit in while standing out is the challenge raised at the new headquarters Lareau insurance office. Settling in a rural area without aesthetic qualities, the project aims to inspire the beauty and encourage this industrial area to change by hosting more projects sensitive to design.

The two separate volumes reflect the architectural program that separates the workspaces from the common areas. The first building with a double sloped roof has 50 offices on two floors. For employees who spend a lot of their time on the phone, sound insulation was primary to provide a pleasant and productive work environment. The majority of offices are enclosed to meet this need. The choice to make the cathedral ceiling apparent, made possible by an external insulation of the roof, allows the space to breathe in height and gives the impression of small volumes of work to float. This impression of weightlessness is accentuated by a natural and uncluttered interior design: white walls, grey concrete floors, natural wood frames, abundant fenestration and skylights. We leave the office spaces to enter the spaces of common life by a small footbridge whose side glass gives to see a young tree that grows under our eyes. This place of nature and the planting of ferns indoors on the ground acts as a decompression chamber between the two distinct spaces.

In the common areas we find the same sleek design as in the workspaces: white tiles and pale wood furniture in the cafeteria, grey concrete floor and apparent white ceilings that merge into the space. Facing south, the building welcomes the sun through some glazed openings and curtain walls. The flat roof of this second volume leaves the freedom of a future enlargement if necessary.

The bright and clear atmosphere that decorates the interior of the two buildings contrasts with the outer envelope of tinted spruce. Built on the side of the road, the building that stands in the middle of the fields is reminiscent in the distance with its dark wood and its diagonal that reinforces the angle of the roof to the rural aesthetic. The entrance facade is inviting without desire to impress. The front black door that customers enter is the same style as the rear door for employees. This simplicity is reflected in the exterior language of the building with openings aligned in a vertical rhythm that gives height to this building while length.

Particular attention to detail, including insulation, irrigation, and openings make it an elegant achievement that balances rustic simplicity with contemporary audacity.

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