Centre Village strives to create a true community within modest means
Centre Village is a 25-unit housing co-operative located on a small infill lot in Winnipeg’s Central Park neighbourhood. The project strives to create a true community - a housing village - within modest means. From its outset, the development faced a considerable list of mediating factors, including a compressed lot size, low budget, major vehicular adjacency and nearby derelict housing.
The final design is based on simple, 8’ x 12’ (2.4m x 3.7m) modules organised on a central spine or 'bar'. Occasionally, the base module is replaced by a larger 14’ x 12’ (4.2m x 3.7m) unit that cantilevers off the main spine to expand the master bedroom and living room. All upper units have their own rooftop patio, while any second-storey units are accessed by exterior staircases.
While the housing units are small, the 8’ (2.4m) band allows each unit to have views in multiple orientations. A vibrant orange colour - used to define the ceiling plane and reflect light indoors - is punched out of the building through custom-welded aluminium window cowlings, which mark the transition between interior and exterior through the glazing threshold. A typical unit has eight or more windows, liberally scattered throughout to help moderate the smaller internal areas and extend the perceived living space outdoors.
The mixture of standardised modules creates richness and variability on the site, generating a seemingly unorganised, yet carefully considered composition of one, two, three and even four bedroom homes that allow families to transition from high-rise apartments into the development. These bars of housing are arranged around two inner collective spaces - a landscaped courtyard and an internal streetscape.
Every unit has a private entrance from one of these shared spaces, provided to foster individuality as well as connectivity to the larger community of occupants. The common spaces are then connected to the broader neighbourhood, plugging into the existing pedestrian culture to encourage interaction and dialogue.