Conversion of Mies van der Rohe gas station – Verdun, Quebec

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In 2008, this building was a relic: an obsolete gas station, built for Standard Oil in 1968 and now boarded up. But it was designed by Mies van der Rohe, perhaps the greatest architect of the 20th century. Montreal architect Éric Gauthier and his team at FABG brought it back into use as a youth and seniors’ centre, adding new functions while stripping away all the nonessential details and furniture. It’s now a pure expanse of Miesian space, slightly edited: two spare glass-and-steel pavilions, each with a slab containing storage and mechanical services, and an impeccably tailored steel roof hovering overhead. Judging from the historic photographs, it has never looked better. And in place of gas pumps, Mr. Gauthier installed air intakes for the building’s new geothermal heating system. The rigour and craft in this building should leave Mies, and Canadians who value good architecture, breathing easy.
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