Winnipeg Architecture Foundation

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Bank of Montreal

Address:585 Mountain Avenue
Constructed:1971
Architects:Gustavo Da Rosa
R. Mackenzie Yeats

More Information

585 Mountain Avenue opened as a branch of the Bank of Montreal in 1971. This building demonstrates Brutalist design on a small-scale. Gustavo Da Rosa designed this building for the Bank of Montreal, in collaboration with the bank’s chief architect R. Mackenzie Yeats.

An article in the June 1971 issue of Canadian Architect stated: “The exterior vertical-striated concrete walls and strong rectilinear mass of the building were intended to convey the feeling of a solid, permanent and immovable edifice considered the essence of a bank building, and the use of the Bank of Montreal blue on the exterior and an illuminated logo readily identified the building.”

Original elements of the interior design of the building included a smoked glass foyer and brilliantly-painted booths in the vault. A focal point was the centre of the bank, where a suspended "sky dome" accentuated the circular tellers' area and walls of wood and rough stucco finish. A rear balcony added to the bank's over-all security, with the whole interior designed in such a way that a "hold-up person could never be sure that he was watching everyone at once," according to original press descriptions. A long mural by Winnipeg artist Ken Lochhead was also located in the bank's interior.

Design Characteristics

  • Brutalist elements within this structure include the striped concrete walls, the unorthodox multilevel open areas at both the front and rear entrances and the juxtaposition of a blocky silhouette with a handful of diagonal details
  • The interior bank was originally decorated with a mural by Saskatchewan Modernist artist, Ken Lochhead

Sources

  • "Bank Branch, Winnipeg." The Canadian Architect (June 1971): 36.
  • "Bank Has Radical Look." Winnipeg Free Press, 14 November 1970.

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