Dominion Square Building
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|Dominion Square Building|
Dominion Square Building from Cypress and Peel Streets
The Dominion Square Building, also known as the Gazette Building, is a landmark office building in Downtown Montreal facing Dorchester Square on its northern side. It is located at 1010, Sainte-Catherine Street West, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
The building is named after the old name of the Square and its southern access is provided by Dominion Street, which connects Peel to Metcalfe and offers access to a 600-lot parking garage under the building.
Completed between 1928 and 1930 in the Beaux Arts style, the Dominion Square Building is both a commercial office tower and a shopping mall. Designed by the architectural firm of Ross and Macdonald, the building comprises twelve floors above ground and a 'T' shaped shopping concourse. The main entrance primarily serves The Gazette with the escalators leading to a mezzanine looking out onto the ground floor below. The main floor was conceived as an interior shopping arcade at a time when such a notion was highly experimental. Moreover, the original design allowed access to the retail spaces on the ground floor from outside and in. From the third floor up, the facade is twice set back; however, this is not as a result of municipal regulations (only the upper most levels are so regulated), but rather aesthetic choices designed with multiple 'prestige clients' in mind. As such, the twin setbacks form a double comb shape which provides ample sunlight throughout the building while further permitting natural light to pass through the setbacks onto Sainte-Catherine Street below. By doing so, the building maximizes the total amount of available rental space for comparatively small city block. Moreover, multiple offices within have several different views, and recessed corners provide additional corner offices on the 9th and 10th floors.
During the last major set of renovations, undertaken in 1989, a second and third floor extension was made, jutting out as a protective arcade with green-glass solarium on top, along the southern side of the building. The colour scheme matches well and requires up close inspection to reveal its youth.
Current tenants and services
The current principal tenant is The Gazette, which has placed a marquee title holder atop the arcaded entrance along Saint Catherine Street. Other principal tenants include the main Montreal Tourism office (facing Dorchester Square), HMV and a women's wear retailer along Metcalfe Street. Also facing the Square is a branch of the Desjardins Group. In 2009, Global Television Network moved their CKMI-DT station onto the 7th floor. The broadcast station includes a virtual television studio whereby anchors sit in front of a green screen and robotic cameras are controlled from remote cities.
Relation to the urban environment
The building was conceived as an ingenious solution to the multitude of building height and size regulations imposed by the City of Montreal during the early part of the 20th century. Moreover, it was conceived as an element of a new urban environment, and thus provided not only two levels of interior shopping and two levels of underground parking, but the city's first escalators as well. It was built at a time when there was significant interest (on the part of builders and promoters) to involve all elements of society, not just those who happened to work there. Furthermore, the available shopping space within was further conceived to be accessible from two sides, permitting the entire building to participate in social traffic exchange. Its modern conveniences and amenities, the prestige of location and effective beauty of the design made it an exceptionally important commercial office tower in the era before Modernist Skyscrapers.