WINNER OF A 2020 CANADIAN ARCHITECT AWARD OF MERIT
“This project establishes clear ideas of urban activation, heritage preservation and engagement while generating an appropriate floorplate for a contemporary residential structure. The plan respects and makes space for the heritage building through a rich urban laneway system that connects across the site and to the city. The approach to cladding is interesting—a reinterpretation of masonry detailing in metal.” – Michael Moxam, juror
In Winnipeg’s East Exchange District, much of the century-old industrial vernacular is being adaptively reused to support mixed-use residential projects. This includes 90 Alexander—one of the last remaining sites on Waterfront Drive, and once home to the W.J. Guest Fish Company Warehouse, and later to Great West Metal Limited.
The existing 1905 brick warehouse on this narrow-yet-deep lot was constructed with face brick and remains in excellent repair. The architects devised a new seven-storey volume that winds around the warehouse, leaving all sides of the 115-year-old building exposed, in homage to its original free-standing form. The volume also creates an appropriately scaled building that avoids deep floorplates.
The new construction evokes the articulated texture of the historic building. The façade’s cladding panels, developed from rudimentary 8-inch-deep break-shaped flashing, reinterpret the interlocking masonry of the surrounding district’s historic buildings. The standard modules work in 95 percent of façade conditions, including in turning corners, screening mechanical equipment, and acting as a guardrail for rooftop patios.
The existing heritage warehouse is repurposed to house 26 residential suites, with most new interventions floating within the existing shell. In the new structure, the first four residential floors are made up of stacked one- and two-bedroom modules that switch orientation from floor to floor, as expressed in a staggered exterior window pattern. The sixth floor provides access to both sixth and seventh floor units, the majority of which step out onto outdoor decks sheltered behind slanted rooflines.
Terracing and sloping at the top two levels align the new structure with the roof of the historic building, extending daylighting into the shared spaces and surrounding streets. A continuous walkway and a series of semi-public spaces connect the new and old structure, animating the entire complex and contributing to the neighbourhood’s revitalization.
At street level, a latticework of concrete beams, vertical columns, and sloped columns supports the new building. Façade walls cut away at street level, inviting pedestrians to explore the development’s ground-floor commercial spaces and plazas, and interweaving 90 Alexander with its urban surroundings.
CLIENT RNDSQR | ARCHITECT TEAM Emeil Alvarez, Pablo Batista (MRAIC), Brandon Bergem, Ken Borton (MRAIC), Jordy Craddock, Donna Evans, Ben Greenwood, Johanna Hurme (FRAIC), Jeff Kachkan, Stas Klaz, Lindsey Koepke, Kelsey McMahon (MRAIC), Colin Neufeld, Sasa Radulovic (FRAIC), Amanda Reis, Helia Saadat, Hasan Shurrab, Matthew Trendota (MRAIC), Shannon Wiebe, Jenn Yablonowski | STRUCTURAL LDA | MECHANICAL/ELECTRICAL Smith & Andersen | CIVIL Barnes and Duncan | LANDSCAPE Scatliff + Miller + Murray | ENERGY Footprint | INTERIORS | GEOTECHNICAL Dyregrov Robinson | CONSTRUCTION MANAGER AND GENERAL CONTRACTOR Concord Projects | AREA New building—2,570 m2; heritage building—464 m2 | BUDGET $37 M | CURRENT STAGE Construction Documents | ANTICIPATED COMPLETION 2022
ENERGY USE INTENSITY (PROJECTED) 176 kWh/m2/year | WATER USE INTENSITY (PROJECTED) 0.944 m3/m2/year (based on LEED WUI standards)