Main Street Studio
Instructor: Lisa Landrum
ARCH II, Rm. 300 | Lisa.Landrum@umanitoba.ca | 204-480-1037
"Main Street is almost alright." —Robert Venturi, Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture (1962)
This studio’s principal site of investigation will be Winnipeg’s South Main Street, from the intersection of Portage and Main in the historic Exchange District to the Bridge of the Old Forts (over the Assiniboine River). This stretch of Main is ripe for transformation! With the nearby Canadian Museum for Human Rights newly opened, with the Upper Fort Garry Provincial Park nearing completion, with the recent revitalization proposal launched by the Forks Renewal Corporation, and with renewed investment in the area’s empty lots by CentreVenture (Winnipeg’s downtown development agency), this section of Main Street will undoubtedly change over the next several years. But what kind of change will it undergo? What civic values will guide the transformation? Will aesthetic and ethical considerations influence the metamorphosis? Or, will private interests and economic ambitions rule? What about public space, artistic practices, prosaic routines, urban festivals, idiosyncratic tendencies, and uncanny or cosmological phenomena? Will agendas and qualities such as these have a place along Main? What role might architecture and architects play in the re-imagination of this crucial street of our city? How can the site’s divisive conditions—not least of which is its elevated railway—be mediated? Can this and other physical, cultural and socio-political barriers be transformed into inviting thresholds? In what ways might the area’s divided conditions be converted to situations of inclusive diversity? These are some of the questions our studio will confront. Work will involve artistically exploratory modes and mediums of investigation, including large and small-scale physical models, while developing comprehensive design projects sited in thoughtful relation to South Main.
Images: Times Square as public space, 2009 (Damon Winter, New York Times); Los Angeles, 2010 (Iwan Baan); Winnipeg's South Main Street.