Track 1: DOCUMENTATION AND DIAGNOSTICS – UNDERSTANDING HISTORIC PLACES / Volet 1 : Documentation et diagnostic – Comprendre les lieux historiques

Understanding the delicate balance between occupancy loads and building envelope performance in large complex buildings with cavity wall construction: Roger-Gaudry Pavillon, université de Montréal

Saturday, October 14
10:45 AM - 12:15 PM

The Roger-Gaudry Pavilion at the Université de Montréal is its symbolic heart and a national landmark. Located on the northwest face of Mount Royal in Montreal, it was designed in the Art-Deco idiom by the celebrated Canadian architect Ernest Cormier. Twenty-two wings ranging from one to eight stories are symmetrically organized around a central tower. Built in two major construction campaigns, 1928-1931 and 1941-1943, with some portions of the concrete frame not clad until 1955, this beautifully detailed cavity wall hybrid building continues to house laboratories, lecture halls, offices, and clinics; each with their own hygrothermal and air pressure requirements. The original building envelope components have survived relatively well. In view of a major interiors rehabilitation project that will substantially change the current occupancies and HVAC systems, the University mandated EVOQ Architecture to study the hygrothermal performance capacity of the masonry walls; to develop technical guidelines for the new occupancies and suggest potential improvements to the building envelope.
EVOQ collaborated closely with the University to define the study parameters, and to assemble and manage a multidisciplinary team of internal and external experts. The 18-month study included: review of archival drawings and data; review of previous building envelope repairs and interventions; visual survey of existing conditions to establish relationships between occupancy requirements and deterioration; exploratory openings to verify wall compositions and conditions; hygrothermal modeling to develop theoretical baseline models; installation of sensors and long-term in-situ monitoring of hygrothermal/air pressure differences of wall compositions to understand actual conditions and validate theoretical models; and thermography to detect weak points in the envelope.
The study provided insight into: how moisture can accumulate within wall cavities and assemblies and under what conditions it dries out either towards the exterior or interior faces; the effects on wall assemblies of wind, sun, building orientation, and extreme exterior temperature fluctuations; weak points in the wall construction and how the presence of moisture can lead to deterioration; and the effect of HVAC and air-leakage on interior relative humidity levels (RH).
Hygrothermal modeling was also done to predict the wall performance if air/vapour barriers would be introduced in the wall assembly, and to establish the range of RH levels for the existing and upgraded wall assemblies. Recommendations included compartmentalizing floors in order to reduce stack and wind effect and facilitate HVAC air pressure control, and improvements to wall detailing to be implemented as part of maintenance and repair programs of the exterior face brick.
The report summarized findings and recommendations including phased implementation with recommendations for further monitoring of pilot projects to inform and improve wall upgrades for subsequent phases.

Learning Objectives:

John Diodati, Heritage Architect

Senior Associate
EVOQ / FGMDA Architecture

John Diodati is a conservation architect and educator specializing in materials conservation and traditional building techniques. A graduate of McGill University , he is a Senior Associate at EVOQ Architecture since 1999. In his over 27 years of practice, John has led teams of multidisciplinary specialists and been in charge of the materials conservation and building envelope on an impressive number of award-wining projects ranging from modest vernacular structures to the buildings of the Canadian Parliament. He continues to be an active member and chair of several professional, advocacy, and building trade committees that raise awareness about the quality and value of built heritage.

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Understanding the delicate balance between occupancy loads and building envelope performance in large complex buildings with cavity wall construction: Roger-Gaudry Pavillon, université de Montréal



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