Threatened Mies gas station finds new use: expected to please old and young

Word comes from Quebec:

Mies van der Rohe peut reposer en paix: tout indique que l’ancienne station-service Esso de L’Île-des-Soeurs va rester debout.

Mies van der Rohe can rest in peace: everything indicates that the old Esso Gas Station on Nuns’ Island will remain standing.

(Wow, those high school French lessons paid off! Or was it those wonderful years I spent living in Paris? )

To translate the article:

The local council in Verdun, where the station is located recently unveiled a project called the «Maison des générations», “House of Generations” which will give a new use to this important piece of modern architecture in Montreal. It’s been closed and boarded-up since December.

(It’s unknown if Mies himself had anything to do with this particular design. But it did come out of his office a year before he died.)

A poll last year revealed that 73% of the residents of L’Île-des-Soeurs, Nuns’ Island, agree with this idea, said the Mayor of the area.

The plan is to integrate a Youth Center with a Center of Activities for the Elderly.

And to preserve the décor unique of the station-service.

The Director of the Restoration, Dany Tremblay,assures that the project will respect the historic character of the building, which will once again display its glass wall as Mies imagined in the original plans. Right now, zoning laws only permit uses for the building tied to automobiles. The new project will demand a change in the zoning, this will be put to the people with a referendum.

The City of Montreal is also studying the possibility of listing the gas station as a monument historique. It is expected to pass. The listing would not only make it esier to protect the building, but would also guarantee funds for future restoration projects.

Imperial Oil, which used the gas station and the land for 40 years, will decontaminate the place before it becomes the “House of the Generations.”

O Canada! You make everything so easy.

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