Location: Montreal, Canada.

Architect: NEUF Architect(e)s.

The Birks building, designed by Edward Maxwell in 1894 for the Henry Birks & Sons jewellery store, has undergone numerous alterations over the years, leading to poor conditions that threatened its preservation. In 2016, the building was purchased by a client who led a team of professionals to transform and restore the historic building into a luxurious boutique hotel, while preserving the celebrated Birks jewelry store. The design team sought to highlight the remarkable character of the building while updating its architecture to correct serious deficiencies. The upper floors were converted into 132 hotel rooms, and the original plaster mouldings adorning the ceilings were preserved by installing a specialized sprinkler system. A two-storey glass volume now crowns the building, and below grade, obsolete mechanical rooms and vaults were converted into a spa. A new French Brasserie occupies a portion of the ground floor facing the Square. The team successfully reasserts the presence of Edward Maxwell’s iconic Phillips Square landmark by evoking the past of a business and individual that have both left marks on Montreal’s history. These efforts have ensured the Henry Birks & Sons’ building will continue to stand out in the city’s cultural landscape for generations to come.

Photo credit: Alex Parent, Adrien Williams, Felix Audette.