The Windhau

A residential project, the Windhau, is meant to be an inter-related integration of the fields of architecture, interior design and landscape architecture, respecting the potential of each discipline while contributing to the whole.

The project explores the architectural heritage of Montreal’s working class along the Lachine Canal through three periods: the 1880 housing in Pointe Saint-Charles, the 1930 triplexes in the neighboring area of Verdun, and of the first single-family suburban homes of the Lachine borough before the adoption of Americanized models in the middle of the 1950s.

The Windhau represents a synthesis of space concepts geared to family life and their evolution through time, not only in the past but also in the future. The main goal, sustainable development, is reached by the transfer of structural loads from the “room” unit to the building’s envelope, while retaining the traditional wood structure, which allows for a redistribution of spaces through time.

The sustainable aspect of the project is reinforced by the carefully planned addition of a roof garden, normally absent in wood structure projects. This personal green space remains a basic requirement for urban citizens who otherwise are coerced into opting for suburban solutions. This roof garden serves to stem urban sprawl and contributes a positive impact on the environment.

Entirely designed and built by Gary Michael Conrath, this project was favorably received by the international jury of the Montreal Institute of Design, and in 2004 was designated as a finalist in architecture and a laureate in interior design.