Architecture and urban integration

An iconic Montréal building
One of the most remarkable visual aspects of the Palais des congrès de Montréal is its striking multicoloured glass façade comprising 332 coloured glass panels and 58 transparent glass panels. During the daytime these panels emulate a beautiful kaleidoscope, while nighttime makes for a scene right out of a blue impressionist painting.

The Palais des congrès is among the new wave of Montréal architectural symbols being touted worldwide, just like the Olympic Stadium and Île St. Hélène’s Biosphere. It has been featured in many prestigious magazines and travel guides:

  • Travel guides such as Lonely Planet, Hachette, and Ulysse have chosen the convention centre's multicoloured glass exterior or pink concrete trees from the indoor Lipstick Forest for the covers of their recent Montréal issues
  • Mentions of the architecture in the Wallpaper City Guide to Montréal, Voyage d’affaires au Québec guide, and Michelin Green Guide to Québec
  • Listed among the architectural wonders featured in 1001 Buildings You Must See Before You Die.

History of the Palais
The centre successfully integrates three centuries of history in drawing upon vestiges of the old city. Despite the modern expansion work of 2000-2002, many parts of the edifice are more than 100 years old:

  • the façade of the Rogers and King foundry, built in 1885
  • the façade of Fire Station No. 20, constructed by Louis-Roch Montbriand in 1908
  • the Art Deco style Tramways Building, built in 1928 and preserved in its entirety, where the STM Montréal transit authority was headquartered/li>
  • The Palais des congrès’ original building built in the 1970s, designed by architect Victor Prus
  • Expansion of the Palais in 2000-2002 under the supervision of architect Mario Saia

Want to know more about the Palais’ distinguishing characteristics? You’ll find the additional information you need in The Palais: An expression of Montréal.(PDF, 135kb)

The “new” Palais
The Palais’ architectural concept and expansion, including its multicoloured façade, was designed by several architectural firms under the supervision of Mario Saia:

  • Tétreault, Parent, Languedoc et associés
  • Saia et Barbarese Architectes
  • Dupuis, Dubuc et associés (Aedifica)

Mr. Saia has been an architect since 1963 and has been awarded several prestigious prizes including the Governor General's Award presented by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and the Canada Council for the Arts respectively for the Sports Centre in Montréal’s Little Burgundy and Benny Farm.

The Lipstick Forest
Created by Québec landscape architect Claude Cormier, the Lipstick Forest features 52 pink coloured trees made of concrete located inside the Palais near Hall Place Riopelle.

This surrealist installation is a nod to nature living in harmony with the city’s centre. It was produced by sculptors from the Aquanov Group and is intended to reproduce the trees lining Montréal’s Park Avenue.

Urban integration
The Palais is strategically located between Old Montréal and downtown, just north of Autoroute Ville-Marie. Its main entrance is marked by the multicoloured façade and borders the Place Jean-Paul-Riopelle, which features La Joute, a remarkable sculpture by the world-renowned Québec artist. It’s an ideal location for a breath of fresh air between meetings.

Find additional information in The Palais:

An expression of Montréal. (PDF, 135kb)

Quartier international de Montréal's Web site