An Iconic T-Shaped Apartment Receives a Modern Makeover

An Iconic T-Shaped Apartment Receives a Modern Makeover

By Jennifer Baum Lagdameo
A unit in Montreal's historic housing complex Habitat 67 is reborn into a sleek, airy abode.

Interior and industrial design firm Rainville Sangaré has recently unveiled the renovation of Unit 622, an apartment in the iconic 1960s housing complex Habitat 67. Focusing on simple lines, materiality, and the minimalist aesthetic of the Brutalist building in which it is located, the team has transformed the unit into a bright, open, modern home made up of bespoke touches from local sources.

Sangaré kept the material and color palette minimal to enhance the unit's striking light quality.

The historic housing complex was designed by acclaimed Israeli–Canadian architect Moshe Safdie to be an experiment in affordable urban living, and was originally made up of 158 homes arranged in stacked, prefabricated concrete "boxes."  

The minimalist design of the space was also informed by the location of Habitat 67 on the Saint-Laurence River—a windy and isolated spot during the long cold winter months. 

Unit 622 is composed of two prefab blocks arranged in a unique T-shape layout. The home was originally structured around the concrete junction where the two volumes meet. 

This convergence has been left exposed as an homage to the apartment's past, complete with writing that remains from the original construction over 50 years ago.

The window in the living room is framed by built-in shelves. The owners are collectors of local craft and design, and had ventilation grids custom-made specifically for the renovation. 

The interior choices for the unit are inspired by the complex's location on the Saint-Laurence River and by the building's Brutalist concrete finish. Sangaré kept the palette as minimal as the material choices—outfitting the space with raw finishes, such as steel and concrete throughout. 

A commissioned art piece by local artist James Kennedy is mounted on a sliding door which hides the television set. 

The entire apartment is outfited with Sangaré’s UNITÉ lighting, which has been inspired by the rectangular, prefab building blocks of Habitat 67. 

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The efficiently designed kitchen has been crafted by local kitchen brand À Hauteur d’homme. 

A glance down the hallway from the junction of the two prefab "boxes."

Colorful writing from the original construction over 50 years ago.

A hideaway bed in the guest room allows this space to also be used as an office. Sangaré’s UNITÉ lighting hangs above. 

The hideaway bed tucks neatly into the storage unit. 

The bedroom is predominately oak with a custom-designed bed and nightstand. The lighting in this room is also by Sangaré.

A close-up of the nightstand and another piece from Sangaré’s UNITÉ lighting collection. 

A detail of the bespoke bed. 

The streamlined wardrobe panels are also finished in oak. 

The bathrooms are a break from the minimalist aesthetic of the living spaces, injecting color and interesting finishes that include the use of a dichroic glass shower divider. 

The dichroic glass displays two different colors by undergoing a color change in certain lighting conditions. The concrete tiles reference the Brutalist building. 

A view of the Saint-Laurence River and the concrete exterior of Habitat 67.

The floor plan of Unit 622. 

Project Credits:

Interior Design: Rainville Sangaré

Builder/General Contractor: Le Pierre Rénovation

Lighting Design: Rainville Sangaré

Kitchen Design: À Hauteur d’homme

Bespoke Furniture: Rainville Sangaré

Photography: Maxime Brouillet

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