Art Deco architecture in Montreal drew its inspiration both from the European experience and that of avant-garde artists and architects working in North America. The style was one that expressed a new aesthetic vision, incorporating ideas about twentieth-century modernity and a faith in technological progress. The skyscraper was the most striking evidence of this new form of expression. It not only addressed problems of urban population density but those of the shortage of real estate as well. The erection of skyscrapers was regulated in most North American cities through by-laws that included formulas which limited building height and mandated that floors beyond a certain height be set back at various levels to prevent a sense of overcrowding and canyons of shadow on neighbouring buildings and streets below.
Most of the skyscrapers were commercial buildings and were a monument to the company's prestige as well as an advertisement for its products and services. In the 1920s, structural developments allowed for greater height and architects experimented with a plethora of new alloys, fabrics, compounds and finishes on traditional materials. Art Deco designs were integrated into both exterior and interior features: windows, doors, ornamental pinnacles, friezes, lobby stairways and elevators were among the features to which were applied geometric designs with inlays of colour in a wide variety of materials.