SOUTHAM LOFTS, MONTREAL
Built between 1908-1916 for Southam Printing Incorporated, The Southam Building was intended to help modernize the company’s operations and, of perhaps greater importance, help solidify the company's leading position within the thriving paper industry well established Montreal. Located, minutes from the once industrially active old port, The Southam Building became a cornerstone in Montreal’s business community. It exists, today as perhaps, the best red-brick example of the early 1900’s. Constructed during a time when no "skyscraper" could exceed 10 stories, the architects Brown and Vallance had the difficult task of balancing a design that would be both "tall" and "long".
As the building itself was primarily a printing facility - housing presses which extended for more than 200 feet, a structure composed of three distinct architectural components was conceived. Serving as the "press", this seven story undeniably industrial component, typified by its extremely large divided light window bays and their signature rounded headers, stretches a distance of roughly 275 feet towards the east from rue Saint-Alexandre where the main entrance was originally located.The long, very well windowed, corridor portion was the first element to be delivered in 1912. Given that the paper industry of Montreal was, at the time, concentrated on rue Saint-Alexandre in an area once called Paper Hill, the façade at this end of the printing corridor was approached differently given its industrial purpose. Equally impressive, this scomponent is typified by its stone block lower course and green terracotta tiled relief.
However, the component most recognizable and the element for which The Southam Building has become famous, is the 10 story office tower located on rue Bleury. Identified by its tiered thematic elements and its ornate carved stone details, the elaborate tower façade is a classic example of the Art Nouveau period of the early 1910’s. Delivered last, this element was intended to house the company’s corporate offices and announce Southam’s dominance in the printing industry.
Undeniably, The Southam Building is a fantastic example of Montreal's rich architectural history and industrial emergence during the turn of the last century. Sadly however, the building was abandoned in the early 90's and had become a derelict site, and therefore, an opportunity for an authentic loft redevelopment.
Designed with industry in mind, The Southam Building is rich in many architectural attributes. Expansive arched window bays, barrel vaulted ceilings and voluminous columned interiors - all illuminated by tremendous amounts of natural light - provide the perfect backdrop for a residential conversion. Simply put, the concrete and brick structure that defines the interiors of this historic printing facility became the canvas for the 77 authentic lofts to be located within.
Beginning with an extensive restoration effort, step one of this conversion project was aimed at returning The Southam Building to its original state. Once completed, the architectural attributes of the newly refurbished structure were accentuated through the design of authentic loft dwellings that provided a harmonious fusion between the building’s industrial elegance and the modern minimalism of today’s sophisticated urban residences. The goal of this purist approach was simply to allow the structure’s architecture to literally define each loft thereby creating neutral interiors within which anyone could express their own unique individuality regardless of what specific lifestyle attributes they may have.
With ultra modern and highly functional kitchens, bathrooms and closets that are the culmination of exceptional European design and materials ideally suited for real life, the residential units at Southam were not only intended to satisfy one’s creature comforts but were designed in a manner that considerably extended the inherent flexibility of the loft concept as a whole. By creating free standing customizable storage units that could be moved freely within the loft space, flexible divisions were provided that enabled each owner to modify the nature of their living area as needed on an ongoing basis.
START DATE : JANUARY 2009
COMPLETION : DECEMBER 2012
123,000 SQ.FT. - $34,800,000
77 units - 450 - 3,775 sq.ft. and 6 ph units -875 - 4,000 sq.ft. with 11 - 16' ceiling heights
Private balconies and terraces
Large lobby, 12' high glass elevator, games room, gym, common roof top terrace with sun deck and BBQ island.
Note: 2nd lobby on Saint-Alexandre with vestibule and elevator.