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Provencher + Roy


Located in Griffintown, Arbora is the largest complex built from massive timber in the world. The 597 560 square foot project has 133 condominiums, 30 townhouses and 272 rental units for a total of 435 residential units. With its three 8-storey buildings, this development distinguishes itself on the environmental front by aiming to include 40 % of its area dedicated to green space and by striving to achieve a LEED Platinum certificate. [1] 

Designed for the city, but inspired by nature, Arbora sits harmoniously in Griffintown. Where once swarming the activity of a lumber yard, a solid solid wood structure will soon be erected. Planted in the heart of a booming neighborhood, this ecological development built from black spruce trees from the boreal forest promises to be a unifying space. Living in Arbora means living in a revitalizing environment a stone’s throw from the action, where the omnipresence of wood and uncluttered spaces reconnect us to our essence. Arbora is part of an ecosystem designed in a sustainable way, where condominiums and businesses coexist. [2]

Ecological considerations are an important component of the project, which employs a number of sustainable development strategies. The planned landscaping privileges the use of drought-resistant indigenous plants in order to minimize water consumption in the outdoor spaces. It also makes minimal use of turf, a medium not conducive to biodiversity. Finally, the project mitigates heat islands through the use of high-SRI surfaces, which makes it possible to meet the minimum 20% ratio of vegetated outdoor space. 

Two principles of heritage interpretation have been privileged to commemorate the site’s former occupation and, more broadly, the history of the neighbourhood in which the project is integrated: evocation and information. The composition of the architecture and landscape integrates elements that characterize the site’s historical high points, evoking for users a sense of the area’s past, while information about the site’s history is conveyed to residents and visitors in a more didactic manner. [3]

As an extension of the biophilic benefits of these timber-built residences, the LEED Platinum project has dedicated nearly 40 percent of the surrounding area as green space. Interiors offer an abundance of exposed wood and natural light. Its central location offers exceptional walkability and includes electric car charging stations, car-sharing services, bike storage, fitness room and an on-site green space. The sheer volume of wood used in a project of this size delivers significant carbon-lock-in benefits and has lower embodied energy when compared to steel and concrete. [4]


[1]      “Arbora.” Nordic Structures | nordic.ca | Engineered Wood | Projects | Structures | Arbora. Accessed June 17, 2021. https://www.nordic.ca/en/projects/structures/arbora.

[2]      “Arbora Griffintown.” Projets verts. Accessed June 17, 2021. https://projetsverts.voirvert.ca/projets/arbora-griffintown.

[3]      “Arbora – Phase II & III.” Provencher_Roy | Architecture – Design – Urbanisme – Paysage. Accessed June 17, 2021. https://provencherroy.ca/en/projet/arbora-architecture-residential/.

[4]       “Arbora.” Think Wood, September 9, 2020. https://www.thinkwood.com/projects/arbora.


Additional information:

“Arbora.” Arbora – Le Sud-Ouest (Griffintown) | Mon Habitation Neuve. Accessed June 17, 2021. https://monhabitationneuve.com/DetailProjet/Arbora/702.


“Arbora.” Prix Habitat Design, April 29, 2018. https://prixhabitatdesign.com/unites-modeles-amenagees/arbora/.


Lam, Elsa. “World’s Largest Residential Project in CLT Launches in Montreal.” Canadian Architect, October 8, 2015. https://www.canadianarchitect.com/worlds-largest-residential-project-in-clt-launches-in-montreal/.


“News.” Canadian Architect, November 2015.


Stoughton, John. “This Housing Complex in Montreal Points to the Future of Timber Construction.” The Architect’s Newspaper, November 30, 2017. https://www.archpaper.com/2017/11/arbora-housing-project-montreal-future-timber/.


Project Title: Arbora
Artists:  Provencher_Roy
Year: 2019

Place: Montréal, QC

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