A vision of the future

Friday 15 Nov 2013

Janet Rosenberg & Studio-led team wins design competition at University of Manitoba

The results have been released from the international competition VISIONARY (re)GENERATION, hosted by the University of Manitoba to find a future development framework for one of its two campuses. The Fort Garry Campus is situated towards the south of Winnipeg, Canada and is the site for the conceptual campus plan.

Taking first place in the competition was Janet Rosenberg & Studio, with Cibinel Architects, Landmark Planning & Design and ARUP Canada. The team was inspired by the land division techniques employed by early French settlers to the site, with the successful concept ‘Arpent’ splitting the plot into a series of long, narrow river lots.

The 279 hectare site is bounded to the east by the Red River and to the west by a major road and commercial corridor, leaving the competing teams with a number of challenges. An experienced jury panel of stakeholders was clearly impressed by the winning team’s handling of this bounded site.

They noted: “The scheme suggests a pattern that combines both landscape and urban elements, which establish strong visual and spatial connections to the river - a form of landscape-urbanism that neither follows the structure of typical downtown developments nor of mono-functional suburban neighborhoods. Promoted instead is ‘a place of living in the prairie’.

“The park successfully creates an open field that provides a counterpart to the large-scale object of the stadium. The smaller spaces between the buildings in the Southwood district serve a series of functions, including nature preservation, educational uses, and recreational areas. The Smart Park district receives a new identity through a green axis and an open water canal.”

Taking second, third and fourth place in the competition were: Perkins+Will with 1X1 Architecture and PFS; DTAH with Cohlmeyer Architecture Limited and Integral Group; and IAD | Independent Architectural Diplomacy S.A.

Perkins+Will with 1X1 Architecture and PFS were commended on their attention to the requirements stipulated in the competition brief and ability to create a new ‘heart’ for the campus. The team were also applauded for the urban pattern within their proposal which used traditional blocks to form a site that ‘responds to the needs of everyday life’.

The jury praised DTAH with Cohlmeyer Architecture Limited and Integral Group for its balanced layout and feasible phasing strategy, while suggesting that a lower density may be more appropriate in some areas. Renewable energy was also highlighted as a positive element as was the smooth integration of numerous transport links.

IAD | Independent Architectural Diplomacy S.A. was applauded for its well-crafted drawings and visionary posture, with clusters of buildings dotted throughout a continuous landscape. It was this unifying landscape of architectural elements that concerned the jury panel however, as their notes explain: “This very strength is also the project’s weakness, insofar as its homogeneous character might prove to be insufficiently flexible for future development.”

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