Located on Notre-Dame Island, the Casino de Montréal has occupied two former Expo ’67 pavilions for several years. After Loto Québec decided to refurbish the casino to turn it into a world-class gaming establishment, Pasquin St-Jean carried out the complex structural engineering for the project. Work was completed in December 2013.
The project involved the addition of a mechanical floor on the roof, the seismically rehabilitation of the structure with dynamic brakes, the demolition of one floor out of two, and the construction of new floors. The building now has a total of seven floors, plus the roof. A new entrance was added, the vertical transportation was increased, and the loading dock was retrofitted.
All this work took place while keeping the Casino and all its gaming tables fully operational 24/7.
The project transformed the indoor areas without affecting the historical style of the building envelope, but rather enhancing it. The building remains a symbol of the golden age of construction in Montreal.
Modifications to half the interior while it was occupied
Renovating a building that was designed and built in 1967 based on French building codes, with materials imported from France, brought its challenges. The preliminary work involved the historical research of existing French steel structures and in-situ materials tests.
The pavilion had already undergone major transformations in the past and now this project involved altering more than 50% of the existing floor space. The architectural
design required the elimination of existing columns and bracings. Some construction was near and under
the water levels.
Each proposed structural solution had to ensure accessibility to the work area and the need to minimize the loads by limiting the weight of the components. Work on the foundations was minimized by modifying the structural layout.
The seismic rehabilitation had to maintain the building’s lateral resistance at all times during the construction. The task was achieved using non-linear dynamic analyses through time steps that integrated seismic brakes into the structure and improved the bracing systems.
The seismic analyses allowed the forecast budgets for the rehabilitation to be reduced by several million dollars.
The new single entranceway has a special and unique configuration that resembles a sail. It incorporates a 25-m span, 15-m cantilever, and inclined supports. The design required managing the resulting lateral forces, precisely coordinating the geometry and camber, and integrating the existing lateral load recovery system.
Rigid suspension and assembly systems in the building were designed to use existing beams. As well the structures were designed so that the mechanical and electrical services could be maintained.
The special measures that were taken to ensure the safety of the workers and the public included the use of structured temporary walls forming five-floor work chimneys. The expanded areas were built before the demolition phases, and access to the site was carefully modified.
Streamlined spaces and natural light
The aim of boosting the casino’s international image was met, especially through the improved interior spaces. The administrative areas are also more user-friendly and have lots of natural light and numerous outdoor terraces.
Several strategies help to reduce the project’s environmental impact, such as the creation of green space on the parking lot roofs. Sustainable materials and energy efficient equipment were also incorporated into the building.
The integrated team approach was used, which meant the various players involved in the project worked together and established a relationship of trust.
For the duration of the project the impact on patrons was minimized to the point where most of them were not even aware that work was being done at the site – an amazing achievement for a project of this scope. cce
Réamagement du Casino de Montréal /
Renovations to Montreal Casino
Award-winning firm (structural engineers):
Pasquin St-Jean et associés (Denis Pelland, Tech, Frédéric Marquis, ing., Charles-Etiennne Cyr, ing., Claude Pasquin, ing., Yannick Chouinard, ing., Yves Pelland, Tech., Samir Nafa, Tech)
Casiloc (Loto Québec)
Consortium MSDL / Provencher-Roy
Other key players:
BPA (mechanical engineer),