June 15, 2004
by Canadian Architect
The winning team said its design for Winnipeg’s famed windy intersection was a “bold and simple solution – grounded in the history and culture of Winnipeg, using the rivers as inspiration.” Entitled "Light Forest," the winning scheme initiates a process of greening the downtown core, with circular stands of indigenous woodland forest species "seeding" themselves into parking lots, leftover or empty spaces. The reforestation begins at the crucial intersection of Portage and Main, and creates a deliberate physical and symbolic connection to Winnipeg’s great rivers, reconnecting the city to the riverbanks with green corridors. A forest of lighting elements at Portage and Main is part of a broader gesture of "light mapping," which through spectacular and dramatic uplighting and underlighting throughout the city core will help to illuminate the cultural tributary of significant features in the city. Glass silos will punctuate an urban forest of light and trees, prairie grasses, solar panels and a field of wind turbines. It also requires opening the intersection to pedestrians and phasing out a lane of traffic to create a median. A five-member jury chose the proposal to win the $70,000 prized from among 72 proposals from around the world.