For a city expanding redevelopment in Montreal, SlenderWall serves as a future-looking design concept with multiple construction benefits.
Urban revitalization is a major trend throughout North America, and although each individual development brings its own specific obstacles, certain challenges are more universal. How can a new building respect the past of the existing neighborhood while also looking to the future? How can it be constructed with the newest green building technologies and the most desired amenities at a reasonable cost? Yet cost was not the only consideration. The new development also demanded a finish quality and permanence that was truly modern in look yet could adapt to the context. The gray, sandblast-finished panels needed to provide an exterior that is trendy while also true to the Griffintown neighborhood’s history and aesthetic. With the aid of SlenderWall, the Griffix condominium project in Montreal offers a compelling answer to these increasingly pertinent questions.
A variety of benefits led the project team to consider SlenderWall for this major project. Among those were the high R-value and its relatively lightweight, and ease of assemblage. SlenderWall’s hybrid construction—a lightweight 2 inch-thick precast panel fixed to a heavy-gauge steel frame—provides both the exterior insulated envelope and an interior stud wall ready to receive gypsum board. SlenderWall’s weight advantages over traditional precast panels—30 lbs. per square foot vs. close to 85 lbs. The contractors could use smaller, lower-cost construction equipment and build the structural frame with smaller members. These helped reduce steel tonnage and associated costs as well as contribute to lower construction-phase expenses. In addition, the ability of the system to be pre-manufactured off-site helped boost the speed of construction. This proved critical for the developer, who could get the condominiums on the market before competitors in this rapidly changing neighborhood.
Seeking to attract an urbane clientele, Griffix was conceived by Diamond Trust and Investissement Poirier—along with their lead design firm, Geiger Huot Architects—as a lifestyle choice with a long list of amenities including a balcony for each unit, a furnished roof terrace with stunning views of Montreal and its surroundings, highly energy-efficient HVAC systems and windows, and of course, its location. The compatibility of all these needs with the lightweight, flexible hybrid system of SlenderWall panels, created an instant appeal for the developers, architect, fabricators and contractors. Le Griffix reaches 20 stories above the Griffintown neighborhood and houses 175 units of between 545 and 1,245 square feet, as well as commercial space on the ground floor. The building, constructed atop the location’s original one-story brick building, has a clean, contemporary finish façade combining 380 floor-to-floor height SlenderWall panels—for a total of 50,000 square feet of SlenderWall cladding—with a fully glazed curtain wall. The neighborhood has embraced The Griffix and the Montreal press described it as “spectacular,” “hip,” and “urbane.” The latest and greatest addition to the growing Griffintown scene, Le Griffix is notable not only for its high design and amenities, but also for the cutting-edge construction elements that allowed vision to become reality.