The future of vision & daylight control


Case Studies

Eaton Centre

The context:

Located in Montreal's primary shopping district, the Eaton Centre occupies a vital place in this city’s life. Hosted by a historic Art Deco building, previously home to the Eaton's department store, the structure needed renovation in order to expand its commercial activity.

With steel structures dating to 1925 and the most recent renovation completed in 1958, the building needed an immediate bringing up to code, not only for seismic reasons but also for aesthetics and functionality that had to reflect the 21st century standards.

The challenge:

Harmonizing past and present in a modern European-inspired complex was the main goal of the redevelopment project. Local architects Lemay & Associés and general contractor Hervé Pomerleau Inc. took the challenge of transforming this prestigious 70-year old building into a contemporary center. Among many other improvements, the Eaton Centre needed a solution to filter natural light to all levels while adding aesthetic value to the environment.

Unicel’s solution:

Unicel was commissioned to manufacture the large atrium skylight that covers the Fashion Wings (Les Ailes de la Mode). Designed to be the main visual landmark of the building, the 80’ x 120’ (24m x 36m) atrium is ovoid at the first floors and becomes rectangular to the top.

The skylight needed to accommodate both geometric shapes aesthetically while allowing daylight to seep in to the lowest levels of the building. It was made up with sealed glass units for various specifications in order to adjust to the changing weather conditions, snow loads, and water and air infiltration challenges. For this, Unicel used ¼” (6mm) tempered glass on the exterior and laminated glass on the interior, with airspaces of ¼” to ½” (6mm to 12mm).

The skylight at Eaton Centre combines the thermal properties of glass with the strength of steel, for effective daylight control while offering a breathtaking view. The structure has become, without doubt, the architectural signature of the atrium area. The building was awarded the Metropole Award by the Montréal Design Institute as well as the Award of Excellence by the Canadian Institute of Steel Construction in 2003.

Key parameters:

Location: Montreal, Québec
Completion: 2002
Program: renovation

Owner: Ivanhoe Cambridge
Architect: Lemay et Associés
Contractor: Hervé Pomerleau inc.