An office that sounds as good as it looks

When La Hacienda Creative snagged a space in the former RCA building in Montreal, Newsam was enlisted to pay homage to a historic past while making space for today’s artists. In the 1940s the 5,000-square-foot space was renowned for its acoustical engineering, but after years of neglect, it was a huge challenge to restore.

Our client had a bold ambition: “My vision for La Hacienda was to make it a very different studio,” says founder Brian D’Oliveira. “It’s more of a venue for a creative team… It’s an integrated space where all stages of sound production can be realized.”

Working with architect Maxime Moreau of MXMA Architecture & Design and Catlin Stothers Design, we successfully delivered our client’s vision:

“With our custom remodeled and versatile space we are able to approach many of our projects in a holistic manner, accommodating the diverse needs of every project and iterating on concepts at a quick pace.”

La Hacienda

Tour the space

Create a modular workspace

Our goal was to create a custom design for modular workflow management and interaction. Every visitor to this musical community is first welcomed into a large, open reception space that feels like a musician’s living room.

Large internal windows allow you to peek into exciting studio recording sessions.

A communal sink, kitchen area with a large island, bleacher seating, and open staircase all create multi-use spaces for musical performances, events, meetings, as well as work spaces away from your desk.

Under the mezzanine, the repair and transformation of instruments is carried out in an open workshop area.

Design an inspiring audio playground

Resembling a log cabin, the recording hall is designed to be an acoustically responsive space with poly-cylindrical rose wood resonators that mimic the acoustic qualities of real instruments. Varnished chipboard panels cover bleachers and stairs. Linoleum tiles were removed to reveal the building’s existing concrete flooring whenever possible. This also enabled us to stay within budget when selecting materials.

La Hacienda has acquired 1,200+ rare and unique working instruments that fuel the creative process and drive their projects. The extensive collection ensures that no two projects are alike. Instruments from the impressive collection are proudly showcased on the walls as well as stored and played.

Construct cutting-edge recording studios

In addition to new acoustic walls, floors and ceilings, each room was designed to contain sound and to insulate other tenants of the building against it. Springs were used in the ceilings to absorb vibration. This allowed us to effectively block off traffic noise from a nearby highway. Air conditioning and heating systems were designed to be extremely discreet and quiet.

Restore and modernize

With an extensive and historically accurate restoration process, the space was adapted for our client’s growing needs by adding multiple production rooms, voiceover booths, multifunctional areas, and offices onto the adjacent building. Once dark and gloomy, with an abundance of concrete beams and low ceilings, the team integrated new windows overlooking a terrace to the south, transforming the space into a bright and lively place with a great view. In addition to providing an abundance of natural light, the windows offer views of the historic building, also visible from the bleachers, capturing a legendary past like a picture frame.