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Taking an utterly original approach, architect Christine Djerrahian of Montreal’s Future Simple Studio successfully reimagined a private unit within a former factory as a family-friendly loft that supports modern-day living. The concept was simple enough: place a box inside another box. But the execution showcases a skilful mastery of spatial planning, materiality and ingenuity that respects the structure’s original industrial characteristics.

Located in a 100-year-old heritage building in the city’s Old Port neighbourhood, the apartment was spacious enough, but its open-concept layout impeded the flexible and ever-changing lifestyle of its inhabitants. By organizing the shared domains — the kitchen, living and dining areas, along with designated spots for exercise, study and artistic endeavours — around the perimeter, Djerrahian freed up space to insert two bespoke kit-of-parts bedrooms, complete with ceiling panels and mullions, flooring, convertible bed frames and furniture.

“What an atmosphere!”
Adelaide Testa, AZ Awards 2021 Juror

Encased in tempered glass and walnut veneer plywood, these volumes are truly self-contained units that can be broken down and reconfigured as the family’s needs evolve. Automated sheer and blackout blinds can be lowered to transform the boxes into semi- or fully private spaces and, at night, when the lights are on inside, they emit a soothing glow that creates a moody ambiance.

Throughout, Djerrahian preserved as much of the original brick and concrete shell as possible and enhanced their rugged quality with a material palette focused on tactility: poured concrete elements, custom walnut millwork and a heavy dose of greenery. Glass and mirrored surfaces offer a nearly constant play of light and reflection and contribute to the overall airiness of the rejuvenated interior.

Team Christine Djerrahian

Winner: Residential
People’s Choice: Residential
AZ Awards 2021 Winner: Rue de la Gauchetière Loft

Taking an utterly original approach, architect Christine Djerrahian of Montreal’s Future Simple Studio successfully reimagined a private unit within a former factory as a family-friendly loft that supports modern-day living.

Explore more Award Winners

2015
Award of MeritResidential
Location
Montreal, Canada
Firm
Atelier Moderno
2013
Winner + People’s ChoiceResidential
Location
Mexico City
Firm
Frente Arquitectura, Mexico City
Team
Juan Pablo Maza with Estefanía Hoth and Daniel Nava
2014
Award of MeritResidential
Location
Toronto, Ontario
Firm
Drew Mandel Architects, Toronto