Michael Maltzan selected to design Inuit Art and Learning Centre for the Winnipeg Art Gallery

The award-winning American architect Michael Maltzan has been selected to design the Inuit Art and Learning Centre at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. The Centre will house both the WAG’s celebrated collection of contemporary Inuit art, the largest of its kind in the world, and the Studio Art and Learning programs. Michael Maltzan will be the Prime and Design Architect for this historic project, and supporting his team will be Cibinel Architects, Ltd, led by principal George Cibinel, acting as the Associate and Technical Architect in Winnipeg.

This past August, 65 prospective architectural teams from 15 countries responded to the Call for Expressions of Interest for the IALC project. In September, the architect selection committee narrowed it down to six finalists who submitted expanded proposals and were interviewed last month. The selection committee was unanimous in choosing Michael Maltzan as the winning architect, and this recommendation subsequently received overwhelming approval from the WAG Board of Governors. “I am very pleased with the team we have in place,” states Stephen Borys, WAG Executive Director, “and I’m confident that working with Michael Maltzan we will see a great concept and design, and ultimately a place that enables our visitors to experience in new ways the powerful role of art in our community – beginning with the WAG’s world-renowned Inuit art collection. Michael’s exemplary design work for arts and cultural projects positions him well to create something outstanding for Winnipeg and Canada, and his partnership with Winnipeg architect George Cibinel is a solid one.”

Michael Maltzan, FAIA, is the founder and principal of Michael Maltzan Architecture, Inc. His work fully engages the contemporary world through an architecture that is a catalyst for new experiences and an agent for change. Through a deep belief in architecture’s role in our cities and landscapes, he has succeeded in creating new cultural and social connections across a range of scales and programs. Founded in 1995, Michael Maltzan Architecture is committed to the creation of progressive, transformative experiences that chart new trajectories for architecture, urbanism and the public realm. The Los Angeles-based practice has designed a wide range of arts, educational, commercial, institutional, civic, and residential projects worldwide. Notable projects include Inner-City Arts, San Francisco State University’s Mashouf Performing Arts Center, MoMA-QNS, New Carver Apartments, Pittman Dowell Residence, Regen Projects, and the Hammer Museum Billy Wilder Theater.

“I am thrilled to have been chosen to design the new Inuit Art and Learning Centre,” Michael Maltzan states. “The entire team and I are excited by the opportunity to create an architectural design that will bring together and celebrate both the WAG’s extraordinary collection of Inuit art and the Gallery’s role as a centre of arts learning and studio practice. We welcome the chance to expand upon Gustavo da Roza’s architectural legacy and realize a visible, vibrant and accessible Centre that supports the WAG’s mission to be a true civic and cultural centre of the widest influence and appeal. We look forward to working together with the WAG on this exceptional project.”

Maltzan received a Master of Architecture degree with a Letter of Distinction from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. He holds both a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Bachelor of Architecture from Rhode Island School of Design, where he received the Henry Adams AIA Scholastic Gold Medal. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and a GSA Design Excellence Program Peer. He lectures internationally, and often serves as a design instructor, lecturer, or critic at prestigious architectural schools including Princeton University, Rice University, Harvard University, Rhode Island School of Design, University of California, Los Angeles, University of California, Berkeley, University of Southern California, University of Waterloo, and the Southern California Institute of Architecture.

Maltzan’s practice has been recognized with five Progressive Architecture awards, 31 citations from the American Institute of Architects, the Rudy Bruner Foundation’s Gold Medal for Urban Excellence, and as a finalist for the Smithsonian/Cooper-Hewitt Museum’s National Design Award. This body of work has been featured in a number of international publications including Architecture, Architectural Record, Architectural Review, Artforum, A+U, Domus, Blueprint, GA Houses, Lotus, Newsweek, MarkMetropolis, and The New York Times. The projects have also been exhibited in museums worldwide including the Museum of Modern Art, the Canadian Centre for Architecture, the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, and the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art. Monographic exhibitions have been featured at the Southern California Institute of Architecture, the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and the Carnegie Museum’s Heinz Architectural Center.

George Cibinel, the principal of Cibinel Architects Ltd., has an impressive record of outstanding design, including major academic and cultural buildings for the University of Manitoba, University of Winnipeg, Red River College, Franco Manitoban Heritage Centre, Brandon University, and the Manitoba Pavilion for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Throughout their history Cibinel Architects have focused on the design of teaching and learning spaces that create a sense of place and meaning, and that connect people to each other and their environment. 

George Baird, founding partner, Baird Sampson Neuert Architects, headed the WAG’s national selection committee. Other members of the committee included: Stephen Borys, Executive Director, WAG; Herbert Enns, Director, Experimental Media Research Group, Professor of Architecture, University of Manitoba, and Director, Cisco Innovation Centre for Collaborative Technologies, University of Winnipeg; Naomi Levine, lawyer and President, WAG Board of Governors; Brigitte Shim, Principal, Shim-Sutcliffe Architects, Inc.; Richard Yaffe, Partner, Aikins, MacAulay & Thorvaldson, LLP, and Chair, WAG Foundation; and Mirko Zardini, Executive Director and Chief Curator, Canadian Centre for Architecture.

Selection committee chair George Baird noted that: “From six international and eminently qualified architectural teams shortlisted to design the Inuit Art and Learning Centre for the Winnipeg Art Gallery, the selection committee has chosen Michael Maltzan Architecture of Los Angeles, together with Cibinel Architects of Winnipeg to design the project. The committee’s choice was ultimately settled due to its conviction that of all the shortlisted teams, Michael Maltzan together with George Cibinel demonstrated the surest grasp of the WAG’s ambition to use its expansion project to significantly increase its institutional outreach to its many publics and constituencies.”

The development of the Inuit Art and Learning Centre is part of the WAG’s Centennial Legacy project, which will be supported by the Gallery’s upcoming capital and endowment campaign. A national Inuit Art Task Force chaired by Stephen Borys has been set up to assist with the development of the program and mandate for the IALC. The Centre will be located adjacent to the existing WAG building, and a groundbreaking for construction is anticipated in 2014. 

For more information, please visit www.wag.ca.