If you live in Montreal and you don’t know Cardinal Hardy, maybe you just aren’t looking hard enough. For the last 15 years, this architectural firm founded by Aurèle Cardinal and Michel Hardy has quietly taken the reins on many of the city’s biggest design, landscaping and construction ventures – from the renovation and expansion of Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport to transformation of the Redpath Sugar refinery as canal lofts, upgrades at Beaver Lake, modernization of Notre Dame St. W. and the rescue of St. James United Church from behind a dingy storefront.
Among the many projects now keeping the team of 70 architects, designers and landscape architects occupied are the preliminary proposal to replace the elevated Bonaventure expressway with a ground-level boulevard, a pedestrian-friendly streetscape for Concordia University’s downtown campus, and Université de Montréal’s ambitious plan to build on the Outremont railyards. We caught up with architect and urban planner Aurèle Cardinal in the firm’s gleaming offices atop Le Nordelec, the sprawling former Northern Electric plant which now houses offices, shops and condos in the Point St. Charles district. It’s the morning after the official opening of the world’s tallest tower in Dubai, a 828-metre skyscraper which is everything Cardinal doesn’t care for in urban design.