Studio Fei Revitalizes the Historic Townhouse into an Art Hub 

Located in the heart of Montreal's historic harbor in Old Montreal, "Maison Sédimentation" aims to revitalize a heritage townhouse, while preserving its authenticity. This extraordinary project caught the attention of the Architizer A+Awards jury, who recognized its innovative approach to transforming the building into a vibrant hybrid art center. By seamlessly blending contemporary design elements with the historical fabric, Studio Fei's design creates a captivating space that celebrates both the past and the present.


entrance. Photo credit: Studio Fei

This project has been selected as the winner of the Architizer A+Awards 2023 Popular Choice in the "Unbuilt Cultural" category. This prestigious recognition is part of the 11th annual Architizer A+Awards, the world's leading online architecture platform and the largest international architecture awards program, which celebrates the best architecture of the year. Originally built around 1770 upon the foundations of a much older structure dating back to 1692, the townhouse boasts distinctive features such as a sloped roof, designed to prevent snow buildup, and raised end walls that act as firebreaks. Constructed with Montréal graystone, the building, now under ownership of a local art foundation, is set to undergo a remarkable transformation into a contemporary gallery and cultural center. The envisioned space will serve as an exhibition venue, hosting a diverse range of art and cultural events.


new exhibition space. Photo credit: Studio Fei

Similar to the historical city of Montreal, the townhouse itself can be considered a sedimentary entity, infused with layers of construction, demolition, and partial recycling of physical boundaries and foundations. This complex history has given rise to intricate spatial configurations and varying elevations within the building. In light of this, a careful strategy is required to strike a balance between preservation and meeting the functional requirements of an exhibition space.


Photo credit: Studio Fei

The project seeks to create a palimpsest of physical building layers that can harmoniously accommodate the program of a contemporary art museum, while preserving the authenticity of the original structure. The existing building serves as a foundation, both in terms of materiality and spatial organization. The topography and spatial arrangement have been meticulously preserved, acknowledging their significance as unique characteristics of the old building. The objective is to construct a seamless integration of temporal experiences through three distinct but complementary approaches: integrated restoration, restoration with a deliberate expression of new elements, and new construction. Instead of simply adding spaces to accommodate contemporary art, the project aims to curate immersive sensory experiences.


Steet elevation. Photo credit: Studio Fei

Through incremental restoration, "Maison Sédimentation" transcends the dichotomy between the old and the new. Visitors will embark on a transformative journey, transitioning from somber and enigmatic spaces to a neutral backdrop, from classical ornamentation to intriguing textures, and from remnants of the past to an elevated reality.


Photo credit: Studio Fei


Photo credit: Studio Fei

Studio Fei is excited to unveil "Maison Sédimentation" as a testament to the intersection of history, art, and architectural innovation. The project is poised to breathe new life into Montreal's cultural landscape, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in a multidimensional experience that pays homage to the past, while embracing the present.


Atirum. Photo credit: Studio Fei

About Studio Fei

Founded in 2020 by architect Yang Fei, Studio Fei is an architectural firm based in New York City. At Studio Fei, every architectural creation is seen as more than just a structure; it is regarded as a vessel of spirituality, offering a profound connection with its users. Yang Fei firmly believes in the dual nature of artwork, recognizing its ability to transcend the physical and evoke deep thoughts, ideas, memories, connections, and emotions. With this philosophy at the core, Studio Fei undertakes projects that aim to surpass the boundaries of the physical realm, creating spaces that resonate with individuals, and leave a lasting impact.

Yang Fei completed his B. Arch. degree at SWJTU before furthering his studies at Harvard University. With experience practicing architecture in New York, Shanghai, and Beijing, Yang Fei brings a diverse and global perspective to Studio Fei.