A world of inspiration

adhocLiterature, design, philosophy, nature: architecture and urban design firm ADHOC draws inspiration from all around them. Projects from the Montreal, QC-based firm are generating excitement from its peers with forward-thinking design and style that incorporates elements from wherever inspiration hits.

Take a triplex built by ADHOC in Quebec City, for instance. The concept for the building revolved around the birch trees that grew on the property. Tall and straight, the team incorporated the linear element of the trees into the design of the house, and lined the interior of the terrace with whitened oak, which mimics the white wood of the tree when peeled. The building caught the attention of leSoleil and other media outlets.

Meeting of the Minds
ADHOC does not deal in limitations. When founders François Martineau and Jean-François St-Onge opened ADHOC in 2014, they both brought experience with large-scale projects with them. They take the considerable client-relations skills needed for residential, commercial and other projects it takes on.

It’s a case of the sum being greater than its parts. Martineau and St-Onge both have competing specialties. “Francoise has really strong technical background, and my specialty is very conceptual and design-focused,” says St-Onge. “By being partners, we are creating architecture that marries our two specialities into a single project. We are able to serve in a much more efficient way our client that way.”

ADHOC is currently working on a six-building project that will include 60 condominiums. “As a small firm, we are able to maintain intimate relationships with our clients,” says St-Onge. “But because we both come from backgrounds of doing high-profile, large-scale projects, we bring the rigidity and professionalism needed for big projects and put into a small project.”

What sets ADHOC apart from other design firms is that ADHOC designs with “intrinsic elements of the sites and enhancing them with an innovative, contextual and poetic architecture” in mind. A collaboration between the firm and a real-estate developer client, the project that will showcase the potential of patrimonial sensibility in urban living.

Living Yards
The inspiration behind the “Permeability Park” project is a concept called “Woonerf”, says St-Onge. Based on a Dutch philosophy, Woonerf literally means “living yard”, and the concept challenges the dominance of vehicles in public spaces, and priorities pedestrians and bicyclists over vehicles with paths and lanes encouraging both.

“We designed this project in response to the primary concerns of future urban living: densification, diversification and ecology,” St-Onge continues. “The main concept behind the project is to create a residential park that will offer to the residents an integrated and open living environment. Developing green spaces and large unities with three bedrooms offering a high quality of life aims to keep families in the city.”

The ADHOC vision is to create a “permeable fluidity” between the park, and city and private sector. The public will be able to enjoy the design space, and the residents will feel like they live in the public park. “We want to bring the park into the building,” says St-Onge. “We feel we are bringing great value to the down town Montreal area—it is a very organic master plan.”

City of Dreams
Montreal is a UNESCO City of Design—the only Canadian city with this designation— and a lot of initiatives are launched to develop design in a creative way. “Montreal is the perfect environment,” says St-Onge. “The residential market is more favorable in Montreal than any other country of Canada.

ADHOC buildings are all designed with sustainability in mind, something St-Onge thinks should be an expectation. “Sustainability very important for us,” says St-Onge. “We struggle to even acknowledge that we are green company, because we believe this should be the standard. To do environmentally-sound design is just an obviously choice for us.”

With LEED-certified buildings already on its roster, ADHOC designs frequently incorporate environmental touches, like vegetation inside the building, and materials to help cooling and heating. The team’s “living yard” philosophy is also very environmentally sound by its nature.

ADHOC’s vision invites external elements into each project. This multi-faceted agency maintains an indisputable level of quality into every new challenge. In a short time, ADHOC has earned a very sound reputation, and frequently collaborate with the city’s best contractors and real estate developers. Says St-Onge, “It’s been very exciting to develop ideas with other very creative thinkers.”