The Story

Montreal is a topography in great transition. From mountainous apexes to underwater terrains, each transitional line signifies building, culture, and lifestyles that thread one to the other. Over time, these threads become the apexes of the city and the lines gradually respond to their needs in return. Through this cyclical environment of cause and effect, the city roots itself in a topography of layering, establishing the grounds for future growth and development. Once-new textures become old and are eventually reclaimed into the new again. Buildings become responsive yet progressive and the existing landscape is celebrated through its adaptation.

The topography of the new Shopify Montreal office is the result of an adapted site and a complex program. Within each of these programmatic elements exist a series of influences such as light, sound, and the need for a range of private and public settings. Together, these, along with many others, determine the location of nodes to which the more secondary architectural moves yield and support.

Through this process, gradients emerge in both program and materiality. Materials and textures will be used to reveal and conceal, while forms become steps that flow into seating, evolving into collaborative lookouts from which one can view the landscape below. Beneath these summits are niches, carved out during the extrusion of the lookouts above, while relics from the existing will be adapted for inhabitation in new ways. Shopify Montreal will refrain from becoming an echo of the past, but instead a ripple from the collision of a grounded knowledge with a fresh terrain.

The topography of Shopify Montreal will be a microcosm of the terrain that surrounds it. The space will root itself in a series of spatial rhythms, offset by unexpected apexes that emphasize relationships between the ground and sky. Climbing will be a frequent theme, inviting users to discover spaces to tuck away or be on display. It is through the movement from one to the other that users will experience the true topography of their spaces, seamlessly transitioning from private to public, ground to apex. Views of the surrounding Montreal landscape will be optimized to reconnect users to the outside environment. These views will be framed by casual and open spaces where individuals can reflect introspectively or discuss ideas in a group setting; taking advantage of naturals light and the active environment beyond the glass.

Where visual connections to the natural environment cannot easily be made, greenery will be introduced to enhance the terrain of the interior, emphasizing both vertical connections as well as grounding ones.

Common spaces are designed to invite creative adaptation, allowing users to host meetings, hear lectures or work independently all in the same space. As designers, we design for the the scenarios we anticipate, but provide the opportunity for those which have yet to be fathomed. Through the exploration of these, in addition to a plethora of other layers, the topography of Shopify Montreal is the result of many moments that work together to form a landscape for interaction.

Photography: Claude-Simon Langlois
Image 15: Cindy Boyce
Construction: Marfoliga