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Project Narrative

The McGill Powerhouse, also known as The Ferrier Annex, is a translucent building that houses generators that would aliment campus operations in the event of power failure. It is located at the foot of the Mount Royal close to the McTavish Reservoir, and to the pedestrian green belt known as “la Coulée verte”.

To avoid rivaling with the historical, institutional, and heritage context, WAA displays lush greenery in a subtle, minimalistic, and pure design. This sleekness may provide a misleading impression of simplicity while the reality of the site condition is anything but. Many physical constraints offered a certain level of limitations and complexities, such as the existing cantilever slab limiting planting soil availability and weight, and the striking height difference of 18 m that separates the lower and upper levels of the terrain.

Environmental concerns were also subtly addressed and resolved. Be with the integration of critical strategies for water management and retention, the choice of noble and durable, local, and lightly colored materials, to green roofs and planting beds that would reduce heat islands, increase the solar refractive index, and blend with the neighboring heritage buildings and their materials.

The project emphasizes its mountain vicinity and uses a palette of the Mount-Royal indigenous plants, and transforms an otherwise tough ascension, into a pleasant stroll through zigzag terraces, combined with steel stairs that light up at night.


Montreal, Québec, Canada




1,053 m2


Université McGill




FABG-Architecture / Bouthillette Parizeau, / CIMA+, Engineering / GPH, Les entreprises QMD


2019 / Award of Excellence in Steel Construction from the Canadian Institute of Steel Construction (CISC) in the Erection, Ingenuity, Constructability category


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