The recent history of Winnipeg has been marked by numerous transformations in the Post-War period. The Downtown Area has undergone significant urban development, including building boom immediately after the Second World War, the reorganizing of the municipalities into Unicity in the 1960’s, the establishment of a new administrative and cultural core on Main Street, and the establishment of the Forks Renewal Corporation and the North Portage projects. More recently, a modest building boom in the central business district largely aligned with Bell MTS Arena, Manitoba Hydro Place Building and Convention Centre mark a turning point for this core district. Many of these developments have been influenced by urban design standards that promote a normative commercial high-rise typology accompanied by limited residential capacity. The development has been uneven at best, with numerous of parking surfaces / urban voids remaining. Winnipeg’s downtown still hosts large tracts of lifeless, empty and anti-social places.
This Design Thesis seeks a radical transformation of the downtown by providing a complex cultural and economic urban structure and interface in the territory between Main Street, Portage Avenue, St. Mary Avenue and Memorial Boulevard. The result will be a new prototype for urban living with residential dwellings supported by infrastructure such as public spaces, green areas, social services, amenities for daily life, community and recreation capacity, government services and adequate levels of accessibility.
The intent is to create the conditions that will encourage people to interact in ways that improve health, strengthen social coherence and celebrate diversification. The prototype will appear as a flexible linear urban village, predominantly 3-6 storey height with an infrastructure of porosity and flexibility to adapt to both traditional and new ways of living. Referencing the agrarian region and history, the research will investigate both profound and diverse cultural traditions.
1. Perspective view on intense park with residential housing and office building
2. Office building interior. Looking towards Graham ave.
3. Residential cluster/Greenhouse 1st level plan
4. Physical model. Looking towards Main st.