Ville-Marie, with its characteristic cruciform shape
and its vast underground shopping malls, crowns the
complex begun in 1911, and was built between 1959 and
1962. The surrounding buildings were added in 1963-1964,
and one was raised in 1980.
The architects of this remarkable modern
work, backed by an American developer, were the New
York firm of Ieoh Ming Pei and associates, who would
gain international renown with their design for the
Louvre pyramid, and the Montreal firm of Affleck, Dimakopoulos,
Lebensold, Michaud and Sise, who would also be responsible
for Place Bonaventure. The focus of the whole project
was a public square looking out over the McGill University
campus and Mount Royalan idea first proposed in
1952that could be enjoyed both by pedestrians
and by many of the guests at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel.