Construction has commenced on a $95-million Innovation Centre at the Red River College Exchange District campus in Winnipeg. This transformative project positions architectural innovation to inspire and support a culture of advanced learning and knowledge transfer.
The 100,000-square-foot development designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects in joint venture with Number TEN Architectural Group incorporates a repurposed downtown heritage building and new construction to create a dynamic crossroads with state-of-the-art facilities for applied research, entrepreneurship and commercialization.
“The Innovation Centre is deeply informed by its context with connection to the street and a layering of space and natural light through an orchestrated sequence of spaces large and small,” said Michael Leckman, Principal, Diamond Schmitt Architects.
A hallmark of the Innovation Centre will be the collaboration with industry and the emerging startup sector of Winnipeg’s Innovation Alley. The building’s design features distinct and thematic zones that underscore this engagement.
“The Agora, inspired by its Greek precedent, forms the heart of the facility – an open space for orchestrated ‘collisions’ between students and faculty, industry partners and the college as a whole,” added Sydney Browne, Principal, Diamond Schmitt. “An atrium above this zone brings daylight into the core and transforms a helical stair from mere circulation to become a focal point.”
Innovation Zones including the Sandbox for pitch sessions and advanced computer education space overlook and experience the Agora. These highly transparent program areas emphasize the everyday experience of students, faculty and staff. The threshold between the new and existing structures is bathed in natural light to reveal the subtle excellence of the century-old Scott Fruit Building.
The Roundhouse anchors the west corner of the new building and is the symbolic centre, imbued with Indigenous meaning and European history. At roof level, the City Room will be a beacon enveloped in bold traditional art that is steeped in local culture and visible both on the ceiling of this fully glazed space and across the cladding and soffit.
Targeting net-zero energy consumption, the skin of the new high-performance building consists of photovoltaic glass panels that create energy and also change colour depending on the angle of view and weather conditions.
“Red River College is a forward-thinking institution that recognizes the important role that innovation and industry partnerships play in creating the best opportunities for today’s workforce and this facility embodies these noble ambitions,” said Number TEN Partner Doug Hanna.
“When we first proposed this campus expansion in the Exchange District, we wanted to create a space that embraced a new way of teaching and learning. A space that would bring together students with education and industry professionals, and a space that would embrace social innovation and enterprise, and allow us to continue to focus on groundbreaking innovative research,” said Paul Vogt, President & CEO, Red River College. “Number TEN and Diamond Schmitt embraced this vision and have turned it into reality. We’re very proud of this project and can’t wait to share it with the community.”
The ‘fast-track project’ is slated for completion in 2020.