Design Thesis Project 2016 - 2017
Pawluk center image

SOFTENING BOUNDARIES: A North End Community Centre


Emily Pawluk
Advisor: Eduardo Aquino

Winnipeg’s North End is a distinct part of the city that has a unique history filled with social discontent, segregation, and poverty all while hosting a vibrant and diverse culture. Much like the rest of the city the North End is a collection of communities, each with its own story to tell. In the past, physical boundaries played an important role in this area, as it is separated from downtown by the rail yards on the south side and the Red River on the east side. These boundaries helped to reinforce the communities that were north of the tracks to be inherently excluded from the rest of the city. Although these physical boundaries still remain today, the social boundaries run much deeper because of the systemic marginalization of the inhabitants throughout the area’s history.

This thesis will explore the potential of architecture to soften social and physical boundaries, fostering healing and community growth. The community centre project will be sited along Main Street, just north of the CPR underpass. It is within the Lord Selkirk Park community, one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Winnipeg, and is thought of as a gateway to the rest of the North End. The goal is to create spaces for this community that will promote togetherness and inclusion, as well as, aid in integrating and interacting with the rest of the city. The community centre will have a number of uses and programs including: recreation, social services, a market, and educational resources. The mix of programs will encourage healthy living and allow for interactions to occur amongst the occupants. The intention is to create places for groups to instill self image within, while at the same time reflecting their own values and culture.

Images from top to bottom:
Centre – Design Thesis Panel
1. Winnipeg’s North End Communities
2. Main Floor and Site Plan
3. Main Street Façade Study
4. Section through Community Garden and Gym
5. Exterior Market Perspective
6. Final Model in Site

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