Photo: Olivier Zuida The Duty
Each building built by Hanganu is very well integrated into the urban landscapes surrounding with the personal signature of the architect, stresses the author. On the picture, we can see the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde, in Montreal.
Dan S. Hanganu, died on 5 October. It was an architect out of the ordinary. The many projects that he has made will continue, fortunately, to obtain the satisfaction of the users, to animate the landscape and some will be models for the future. In short, it leaves a legacy.
A native of Romania, Hanganu, moved to Montreal in the 1970s, at a time when architecture so-called “modern” was dominant. Obsessed with ” form follows function “, this architecture discipline was insensitive to the landscapes existing. If it has produced remarkable buildings such as Place Ville-Marie and Tour de la Bourse, each one could be transplanted, however, as a totem in any other city. The architectural production of Hanganu is totally different. This is the Museum of archaeology and history Pointe-à-Callière, the complex Chaussegros de Léry, next to the Town hall, the law library of McGill University or the library Marc-Favreau, each building is very well integrated into the urban landscapes surrounding with the personal signature of the architect.
As it has done during the construction of the abbey church of Saint-Benoît-du-Lac, Hanganu, was not needed as an architect ” the master of everything “. Seeking to respond to their requests, he chatted patiently with the future users, the risk of having to change its plans. On the occasion, he was even in the construction of the building to test some of the solutions, as was the case with this abbey church.
Much maligned at the start
But it is his project of the École des hautes études commerciales (HEC), which is today the most promising lessons for the future. As he opened the door to an interdisciplinary approach to meet the various requirements in parallel from a single architectural project.
Much maligned in the beginning by les Amis de la montagne and Heritage Montreal, who were protesting against the felling of trees, criticized by area residents who feared increased traffic, once built, the building was compared to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Russia and has received… a price that lemon. However, history teaches us that a number of architectural achievements that have been rejected at the outset, to the example of the Eiffel tower, are become by the suite of models, the population is being appropriate. This is what happened with this pavilion, HEC.
Completed in 1996, the building is considered today as the most user-friendly of all the pavilions of the Université de Montréal. Structuring a masterly manner in the territory, his presence on the side of the chemin de la Côte-Sainte-Catherine has not escaped the attention. Inside, the building is functional, very comfortable and strong and bright, living to the rhythm of the seasons, especially thanks to the contact with the wooded area nearby and its extensive winter garden glazed on three floors.
As had been promised by the leadership of HEC, the nature has been re-introduced in the island in the form of a landscaping friendly hotel that provides enjoyable routing between various entry points, and the metro station of the University of Montreal. In parallel, thanks to the intervention of the City, car traffic has decreased markedly in the residential streets of the area. Finally, this strategy constitutes a significant contribution to the heritage of the historic and natural borough of Mont-Royal, because the district does not have a natural value, it is also endowed of the tangible and intangible values.
To enhance the training of new architects in Quebec, it would be desirable to incorporate in the curriculum a course based on the vision of the architecture of Dan Hanganu, accompanied by the visits of his works in the field.