The Hélène Desmarais Building opening marks HEC Montréal’s long-awaited return downtown

Alain Compéra, Anne Rouand et Gerardo Pérez discutent du projet HEC Hélène Desmarais

On September 15, 2023, HEC Montréal inaugurated its new downtown campus, the Hélène Desmarais Building, marking a return to the district where it was founded in 1907. Situated adjacent to the business community, the new pavilion facilitates interaction with economic leaders, in addition to increasing the School’s admissions capacity, offering executive training and research spaces in fields like artificial intelligence, and providing venues for organizing conferences.

The design of the new pavilion is eminently adapted to its site, drawing inspiration from Montréal’s unique urban and geographical qualities.

The building is inserted into a confined built environment that is extremely densely populated, and particularly characterized by a neighbouring heritage jewel: Saint Patrick’s Basilica and garden. We needed to create a dialogue between the new building, Basilica, and garden. We were called upon to fulfill both city-side and garden-side constraints.” Alain Compéra, Architect at Provencher_Roy.

Despite a pronounced 10-metre difference in level across the site, the pedestrian arteries intersecting with the building, from east to west and north to south, seamlessly connect the surrounding urban fabric with the green-filled heritage location. Open and accessible on all sides, the fully immersed pavilion becomes a major player in the district.

Aiming for LEED Gold certification, Hélène Desmarais Building consists of 27 classrooms, a 300-seat auditorium, and an event and conference centre. The publicly accessible library, lounge, café, outdoor courtyard, terrace, and underground parkade anchor the building in the city, while offering new community spaces.

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Hec Montréal pavillon Hélène-Desmarais