Dan S. Hanganu is an architect based in Montreal. He is much admired by other architects in Canada and elsewhere, and he has earned just about every prize offered for architecture in this country. Above is the interior of a recently completed multi-unit residential project called SAX in the Nuns Island section of Montreal seen here.


The University of Quebec at Montreal invited him to design its design school (École de Design UQAM) which must be a sort of dream project that soon has you waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat. Results above. Image from here.

Above is Pointe-à-Callière, the Montréal Museum of Archaeology and History. The Eperon building designed by Dan Hanganu rises above the spot where the great city of Montreal was founded in 1642. The new building, along with other components of the museum, some above ground, many below, opened 350 years to the day after that historic birth announcement.

Among the many achievements of Mr Hanganu and his team at Pointe-à-Callière is the manner in which the new building shows respect to the older buildings in the area and particularly to the Victorian building that stood on this site for generations.

Many architects try this, and many achieve nothing more than a calculated gesture. What is here, in Montreal, is designed with uncommon understanding and sincerity.

Marking the entrance to the Museum, the Éperon building houses the reception desk, a multimedia theatre, a temporary exhibition hall, a restaurant and, in the basement, part of the permanent exhibition Where Montréal Was Born.

When respect, sincerity, knowledge, understanding, humanity, and creativity meet in a piece of architecture, whether it is humble or grand, the result is something that both design professionals and the rest of us can recognize as something special. Pointe-à-Callière, beautiful work, read more here.

This is a model made by Mr Hanganu as part of the design process for one of his projects. These days, we mostly see models of architecture done to promote the project (sell, raise financing, gain public opinion) rather than being done, , like this one, to work some ideas out. It is part of a traveling exhibit seen here

Above is the recent OPUS hotel addition, Montreal. On the left is the original structure built in 1914 in an Art Nouveau style. Dan Hanganu’s addition is something else. Some might find it dominating, others see it as protective of the smaller sibling.

In any case, it is a bold approach, nothing tentative. It is possible that in being so bold the architect may be showing greater respect than if he had moderated his design. After all, if you believe an old building has merit and purpose, then you believe it can hold its own, and you don’t need to handle it with white cotton gloves. Image here.

Above is the Abbey Church addition to the Monastery of St Benoit du Lac, Quebec. This project unfolded at monk’s pace, rather than designer’s pace. The result is wonderful. Interior photo by Alan Karchmer. Image from here.

Above is the Espace 400e Pavilion (cultural building) by Dan Hanganu and Côté Leahy Cardas architects, a recent prize winner here

Dan Hanganu is the subject of many articles in the architectural press, including these in Canadian Architect here and here, and a biography here.

He was born in Romania, studied architecture at the University of Bucharest and came to Canada, to Montreal, in 1970.  He has been making our country a better place to be ever since.

If you want to see more, there is a nice slide show here.

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