Montreal, Quebec
Architects, designers and urban planners
Primary market: Quebec
Number of employees: 160
Louis Lemay, CEO and “excellence facilitator”
Jean Vachon, director of marketing and communications

An emotional and practical approach to design

When companies bid on projects, officials often tell estimators to “sharpen their pencils,” to come up with the lowest possible selling price, so the company can land the gig. Not Louis Lemay.

“We refuse to bid on any job in which price is a factor,” says Lemay, who labels himself as “excellence facilitator” at Lemay, the eponymous architectural design and urban planning boutique. “We provide distinctive services, which include both an emotional and practical approach. What is the use of saving a few dollars on your architect, if the resulting building costs exponentially more to operate?”

Louis Lemay joined the business that his father founded more than a half century ago, soon after graduating from university in 1984. At the time, the firm specialized in designing elementary and high schools. When Lemay became CEO in the early1990s he quickly broadened services to include work with private sector clients, healthcare centers, universities and colleges,

Since then the company, which Lemay runs with four other main partners, has amassed an impressive portfolio, including development of the Bell Center, Sainte Justine paediatric hospital and recently won a bid to design an entire city in Algeria.

However the big architectural prize in Quebec during coming years will be the contract to re-design the crumbling Champlain Bridge. Lemay is itching to get his foot in the door.  “We have done a lot of bridge work in the past, but it was mostly expressway and highway work, never over water,” says Lemay. “But since we have good local expertise, we should be able to partner up with an international firm to offer a full solution.”


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