For Pierre-Alexandre Davignon, being an architect means wearing many different hats. According to him, to realize great projects, one must have the sensitivity to know his role but especially to know that of others. Often the conductor of the construction team, he is the reference person for any other actor of a project. “I may not be an electrical engineer or developer, but my role drives me to understand these trades that are in relation with mine and become a point of reference for the group.” And since group synergy must be present during each stage of a project, he tries to share this vision with the different members of the production teams.
“My clock doesn’t stop a 5:00 pm, the same way my work is not limited to my drawings. I am always ready to walk the extra mile to deliver a good project, a Great project.”
Being a good listener is part of his DNA, a quality that enables him to create dynamic work environments where communication and rigour are par for the course, and that in turn help develop close relationships with clients. ” When you have fun with people, they tend to develop faithfulness that favours the blossoming of great projects.” This facet of the architect and partner was well tested during the realization of the new Mega Parc project. Facing a number of challenges that he has overcome with the help of a united team, the result is a unique product, as much in terms of its development process as in terms of its architecture.
Q&A with Pierre-Alexandre Davignon
Q. What was your trigger for architecture?
PAD. In my family, we are all late bloomers. We have degrees in sectors that are different from the ones of our professions; I am no exception to this rule. Despite the place that art, aesthetics and the creative process have always had in my mind, I chose to feed my strong Cartesian sir and to study business administration at university, a discipline that seemed to offer more job openings. At the same time, my travels nurtured my curiosity and my sensitivity to architecture, as well as help me realize that this fields of expertise would pair my love for aesthetics and my Cartesian thinking. So I dive in a second time and began my studies in architecture. And since nothing is lost… Today, I cultivate both facets of my personality and, as I am now architect and partner at LemayMichaud, I think I made the right bet!
Q. What is your vision of good architecture?
PAD. My vision of an ideal architecture took shape while I was studying, during a trip to Barcelona, where I visited the pavilion of Mies Van Der Rohe. I have never spent such an amazing moment as the one spent in that building! In that structure, everything has its place and was designed for those who roam the space. I therefore believe that my vision of an ideal architecture is that of a well though out architecture, one that uses materials for the benefit of the environment, but especially one designed on a human scale.
Q. What is your most notable project at LemayMichaud?
PAD. Without a doubt the renovation of Mega Parc at Galeries de la Capitale, one of the largest indoor amusement park in the world. That project has allowed me to face and meet several challenges and thus amass unique experience in architecture and project management. Some projects lead us to think differently and to reinvent ourselves. An exploration journey to the four corners of the globe, the learning a new field of expertise, unique technical maneuvers and the development of a professional friendship, those are all highlights of the realization of this Mega Parc 2.0. In the end, we created, along with the client, a unique entertainment environment paired with the retail business. This project is a definite milestone in my career.
Q. What is your vision of the commercial architectural experience?
PAD. The goal of many retail-related businesses is to provide a complete customer experience and pairing entertainment and shopping experience is now at the heart of the commercial offering. Stimuli are activated to create unforgettable atmospheres. Our role as architects is to imagine that customer experience. We work on the tangible, we imagine the spaces that offer immersive worlds to visitors. We need to develop our design thinking towards the creation of multi-sensory environments. We have already been able to work on this new trend thanks to the Mega Parc, a project that has furthered our understanding of recent developments in commercial architecture.
Q. What is your architectural design dream?
PAD. Before the end of my career, I would like to be part of a team that builds a high-rise, a tower. Quebec City is expanding and, as an architect, I have a pronounced interest in urban densification. I would like to have the chance to share my knowledge through a project that integrates harmoniously with the existing urban fabric. The design of such a project must be done at the urban scale, but especially at the human scale.