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5468796 Architecture, Winnipeg

Tuesday 13 Mar 2012

Safety in numbers

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5468796 Architecture pursues innovative solutions to achieve high architectural value 

5468796 Architecture emerged in response to an extremely conservative civic environment, where private developers are largely concerned with the bottom line and unconventional ideas are always measured against safer or cheaper options. In Winnipeg, government legislation dictates when architects need to be employed on a project, and the profession is rarely engaged out of a desire to improve the architectural landscape. The result is a widespread acceptance of cheap building practices, and a general lack of design discourse.

Established in 2007, the office recognised early on that creativity must contend with and counteract the perceived norm in order to be realized. Working around a single table, the studio pursues innovative solutions to achieve high architectural value within the modest budgetary constraints typical of their city.

With the support of an invaluable network of local trades, 5468976 has been able to confront accepted methods and reinvent standard, off-the-shelf products. Their obsession with innovation extends to a shared passion for carefully planned residential projects that maximize density without compromising the public environment. As the suburban housing model continues its appropriation of North America, one of their biggest challenges is being able to shift public opinion about how much space we really need to live. They believe that downsizing through design is integral to a sustainable future, and seek ways to create richer spatial experiences with less overall space.

In addition, 5468796 makes design advocacy an ongoing pursuit through critical practice, professorships at the University of Manitoba, and various public engagements. In 2012, the studio's collaborated with Jae-Sung Chon for Migrating Landscapes, Canada's official submission to the Venice Biennale in Architecture. Examples of current work include OMS Stage (2010), Centre Village (2010), Bloc_10 (2011), Guertin Boatport (2011), a historic conversion of the Avenue and Hample Buildings (to be completed 2012), and Bond Tower (under development).

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