In May 2009, an agreement was signed between the Government of Québec and Groupe immobilier Ovation, a limited partnership wholly-owned by SNC-Lavalin, to finance, design, build, operate and maintain the Maison symphonique de Montréal, a 2,100-seat concert hall for the Montréal Symphony Orchestra. Developed in collaboration with a team of architects, Maison symphonique was completed in two short years, the innovative and sophisticated acoustic concert hall is now captivating audiences and musicians alike.
Special precautions necessary
From the beginning, the project required tremendous adaptability to overcome a number of challenges imposed by its location in the heart of downtown Montreal, as well as the complex scope, confined work site and tight deadline. One of the early challenges involved demolishing three levels of existing underground parking while not interfering with peripheral walls. Special precautions were necessary as two of these walls were adjacent to very busy streets and close to the subway tunnel. The demolition and subsequent construction went off without a hitch.
Exceptionally low ambient noise
The concert hall’s superior acoustics are all the more evident thanks to exceptionally low ambient noise. The auditorium meets noise criteria N1, in which the background noise level in the hall is not even audible to the human ear.
This was achieved in part by creating a "box within a box” where the hall is structurally separated from everything surrounding it. It touches only rubber and steel pads that prevent the transmission of vibration from the outside. The hall's mechanical and electrical systems are also designed not to generate any audible noise.
As a result of these innovations and excellent acoustics, musicians do not need to compete with background noise in order to be heard clearly and crisply. Whether patrons are sitting in the front row or the last, they can enjoy the music the way the composer intended it to be enjoyed.
An environmental achievement
Recognized as a green building, Maison symphonique received its Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) Building Environmental Standards (BESt) certification from the BOMA Canada in May 2013. BOMA BESt is the Canadian industry standard for commercial building sustainability certification.
The hall is also a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®)-certified building. One of the features which helped earn Maison symphonique LEED certification was the recycling of 50% of waste during construction. The reduction in energy consumption was also a major factor: the building’s HVAC system’s heat recovery component reclaims heat from the exhausted air, and a white roof diminishes the heat island effect. Patrons also enjoy the abundance of natural light in 75% in the concert hall’s peripheral and support spaces, an element which also helps reduce electricity costs as there is often no need to artificially illuminate these areas.