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This move is a nod to Drummondville’s early steel industry, made possible by the Saint-François River’s dramatic drop as it meanders through what is now downtown. The pale blue-coloured slag from the smelting process was used at the time as fill material for roads. The French word for it (laitier de fonte) evokes the whiteness of milk (lait)— the very colour Chevalier Morales is constantly seeking. Perhaps one of building’s most striking historical references is the inspiration for the exuberant stairs at the heart of the building. The architects point to the hydroelectric turbines of the power plant along the river, opened in 1919 and still in use today. This multiplicity of layers—historical, contextual, technical and symbolic—is what makes Chevalier Morales’ work so interesting. Their creative process is fed by a constant search for clues in the physical world and the history books, as well as in works of literature. The net result, in the case of the Drummondville Municipal Library, is a highly poetic work, infused with a rich narrative referring to the city’s past. 1 Ray Oldenburg, The Great Good Place: Cafes, Coffee Shops, Community Centers,

Beauty Parlors, General Stores, Bars, Hangouts and How They Get You Through the Day. New York : Paragon House, 1989. 2 Louis Destombes, Traductions constructives du projet d’architecture. Théoriser le

détail à l’ère de la modélisation intégrative (B.I.M.). Université de Montréal [PhD thesis], 2018, p. 682. 3 Destombes, p. 367. Odile Hénault is a Montreal-based architectural writer and communications consultant.

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Canadian Architect February 2020  

Canadian Architect is a magazine for architects and related professionals practicing in Canada. Canada’s only monthly design publication, Ca...

Canadian Architect February 2020  

Canadian Architect is a magazine for architects and related professionals practicing in Canada. Canada’s only monthly design publication, Ca...

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