According to Marie-Christine Baillargeon, architect and partner, empathy and sensitivity are two great qualities that an architect must possess. Each client’s needs being different, it is necessary to quickly identify and understand them before embarking on any type of creative work. A sensitive and attentive person will be more efficient in his work because it will have the tools to go straight to the essence of a project.
“I cannot start drawing without immersing myself in the story of the client and in the chosen site. One has to be sensitive to these factors to achieve authentic projects.”
Marie-Christine also strongly believes that in order to imagine the spaces of tomorrow, we must take a look at the existing environment; push the research on the reality of the place, its history and its surroundings. This approach helps to develop a concept that will convey all the richness of a site. This process cannot be neglected because it helps to identity the important issues and to take the appropriate actions. The goal: the creation of a design that is anchored to its frame.
Q&A with Marie-Christine Baillargeon
Q. What was your trigger for architecture?
MCB. My meeting with the head of the architecture program at Université Laval opened my eyes. I realized that to be an architect, you had to be curious. This field demands that you interfere in other people’s reality in order to create universes that are unique and adapted to the human scale. I realized then that this field of expertise was in tune with my personality because it matched my love of aesthetics with my sensitivity to mankind.
Q. What is your vision of good architecture?
MCB. Good architecture is an architecture that lasts through the passing of time, that is timeless. Humans will always remain human, their feelings evolve but certain codes remain. Good architecture stems from research, knowledge and the architect’s sensibility to meeting the needs of the end-users, people who inhabit it.
Q. In this era of mass communication, what is the role of the architect?
MCB. It’s important to broadcast! On a deontological level, an architect has some duties. One of them is to share his knowledge, to teach his architectural vision to the next generation. Hence the importance of sharing our work, because the more we talk about architecture, the more the subject will become important to the public in general.
Q. What is your most notable project at LEMAYMICHAUD?
MCB It’s a residential project done for a private owner. Open to our work, he gave us great latitude and allowed us to present him with our own vision of his project. We had the chance to immerse ourselves in the environment and identify the views offered by the site, so as to approach the various creative options. What will be the owner’s journey upon his arrival at home? What will be the views of the river and the street? What is the most organic layout for the house? The client wanted to tell the house’s story, and we took the time to write it with him.
Q. What is your architectural design dream?
MCB. We all want to work on prestigious projects! I can see myself in my early days; my dream was to design a museum. Museum architecture is the field that touches me most, because a museum is part of the memory of a civilization, it requires great sensibility. However, the pursuit of that dream is not my ultimate goal, and every firm has its specialties and its dreams. Today, as an architect at LEMAYMICHAUD, I have the opportunity to work on unique projects that correspond to the vision of the firm. It allows me to realize myself every day.