Brewery at The Forks

5468796 Architecture


production on the tight available footprint takes its cue from historic gravity-fed brewing systems, and includes a different phase of the process on each floor.

Part addition and part renovation, the Brewery at The Forks adds 2,000 square feet of new construction adjacent to a 1,750-square-foot space in Winnipeg’s historic Forks Market. Due to height and load limitations, the existing space in the former railway facilities (dating from the early 1900s) was unsuitable for use as a full-production craft brewery. These restrictions created the opportunity for a new form inspired by the area’s industrial past.

A craft brewery occupies a corten steel addition to The Forks market in downtown Winnipeg.

Site constraints necessitated a compact footprint, and the vertical breweries of the 1870s—organized to make efficient use of gravity—inspired a three-level distribution of functions. Malted grain stored in roof deck bins flows down to the second-floor brewery for crushing, before being transferred to the adjacent brewhouse for mashing and boiling. The final stage of production, fermentation, takes place in tall tanks on the ground floor, where brewmasters and the public sample the results.

The aesthetic of the brewery and an adjacent tasting room are inspired by the industrial past of the site.

The addition interlocks with the existing building at each level, and celebrates the industrial aesthetic of the site. Its corten steel skin provides support for the significant lateral loads that result from the structure’s high centre of gravity, while framing a series of level-straddling apertures that provide intriguing glimpses of the operations within. These slivers of view encourage passersby to step inside, see the whole process, and visit the tap room.

Jury Comments

Manon Asselin :: The formal solution proposed creates an iconic structure that coexists seamlessly with the original industrial typology while avoiding the obvious mimetic addition. It is playful and sculptural; an elegant solution derived from a quasi-machine aesthetic that creates a new harmonious ensemble.

Patricia Patkau :: The Brewery at the Forks has a handsome corten steel cladding to it. It provides a smart and empathetic addition to the old industrial building, while stacking its program in a way that relates to pre-industrial methods of gravity-fed brewing.

David Sisam :: The brewery’s expression reflects the historic industrial nature of the area, while its effort to engage the public is a catalyst for the area’s renewal. Programmatically it works—its vertical stacking is reminiscent of early gravity-fed breweries and establishes it as an iconic landmark. The corten steel fins are structural while allowing framed apertures in-between for viewing the process.

Client The Forks Renewal Corporation | Structural Lavergne Draward & Associates Inc. | Area 1,750 ft2 (renovation) + 2,000 ft2 (addition) | Budget Withheld | Status Construction documents, completion expected 2018