HEC Montréal is coming downtown > Hélène Desmarais Building

Hélène Desmarais Building

Modernity, functionality, and sustainability. HEC Montréal wanted everything about its downtown building, down to the esthetic, to reflect the principles that have made the university one of the most highly reputable institutions.

A contemporary architectural concept

The building designed by Provencher Roy Associés Architectes inc. is intended to fit seamlessly into its built and natural environment.

Three overarching themes have guided the project’s development

Dynamic – a contemporary look in terms of its layout, dimensions, and materials.

Light – a building that blends into the urban fabric, juxtaposing the lightness of the new structure and the bulk of the older surrounding buildings.

Respectful – acknowledging the protected heritage areas and conversing with the surroundings through its façades and angles offering sightlines from Rue De La Gauchetière and Côte du Beaver Hall.



View of the architectural concept for the new HEC Montréal building

Functional and inspiring

The new building offers an array of spaces designed to best serve the school’s objectives and assert its relevance in the downtown core.

See the programs and services offered

Accessible, sustainable, and welcoming

In the downtown business district

The building is located at 501 Rue De La Gauchetière Ouest on a site adjacent to Saint-Patrick’s Basilica, between Côte du Beaver Hall and Rue Saint-Alexandre. This marks HEC Montréal’s return to the downtown core, where it once occupied a building in Viger Square, from 1910 to 1970.

Great care was taken to create harmony between HEC Montréal’s new sites and the Basilica. Additional landscaping with no barriers between the two properties have transformed the block into a public space that is welcoming, safe, and open to the Montréal community. The library, common areas, cafeteria, indoor garden, and 8th-floor rooftop terrace are brightly lit spaces accessible to all.


A sustainable, green building

The architectural project was registered with the Canada Green Building Council with the aim of obtaining LEED Gold Certification as a “green building.”

Learn more about the project’s sustainability


Two contemporary works of art

The works of Nicolas Baier and Ludovic Boney have been installed in the building in keeping with the policy set out by Quebec’s Ministère de la Culture et des Communications on the integration of art into architecture and environment.

Learn more about the artwork

A tribute to the past

Out of respect for the cultural significance of the site, HEC Montréal will permanently commemorate the space:

  • Retracing the foundations of St. Bridget’s Refuge, which marked the history of Montréal’s Irish community; partially rebuilding the refuge’s exterior walls in their original location; installing commemorative plaques.
  • Creation of the Maison de Rocheblave Esplanade to remind us of the space occupied by the home of Pierre de Rastel de Rocheblave, a businessman and politician who played an important role in Montréal becoming a commercial metropolis in the 19th century.
  • Designation of a “Printer’s Terrace” on Rue De La Gauchetière Ouest to highlight the importance of the printing industry in the district in the early 20th century.

Partnered with professional teams, from design to construction

"The professional teams at HEC Montréal took great care in planning the construction of the Hélène Desmarais Building. We have taken the same degree of care to produce a green and timeless building that will fit seamlessly into its surroundings.”

Loretta Cianci, Director, Campus Development


Architects Provencher Roy Associés Architectes inc.

Structural/Civil engineering SDK / MHA Consortium

Mechanical/Electrical engineering Pageau Morel / Bouthillette Parizeau Consortium

Project managers WSP Canada inc.

General entrepreneur Magil Construction

Modelling of the physical and functional
characteristics of the building (BIM)
Groupe Schéma inc.

Functional, technical, and
operational program (PFTO)
CIM – Conseil / DMA Architectes

Soil studies Groupe Qualitas (now merged with SNC-Lavalin)

Design of interior furnishings SidLee Architecture

Signage and Donor Wall Arium Design

Why Hélène Desmarais?

Hélène Desmarais (HEC Montréal 1979) is one of the most influential businesswomen in Quebec. She is committed to the development and vitality of her alma mater and is the first woman to chair the HEC Montréal Board of Directors. The school chose to name its building downtown the “Hélène Desmarais Building” in recognition of her unwavering commitment and a 7 million dollar donation from the Paul and Hélène Desmarais Family. This is the largest donation from a family or individual in the school’s history. It went toward the construction of the new building.

Learn more about donations

Donate to HEC Montréal,
give to the community

See how you can support this unifying project

HEC Montréal – Hélène Desmarais Building

501 Rue De La Gauchetière Ouest
Montréal, QC H2Z 1Z5


Metro: Square-Victoria-OACI

REM: Gare centrale