Student Award of Excellence – Re:surface: a Leisure-scape for the Fort Rouge Railyard

Winnipeg, Manitoba
Miika Karpyshin, University of Manitoba

This project is an exploration of the redevelopment of Winnipeg’s abandoned industrial Fort Rouge Railyard. The plan proposes to reinvigorate the area by addressing it at two scales: that of the site’s relationship to the city, and that of the architecture, relating built form to new conceptions of the site. In so doing, it is a re-appraisal of the conventional disciplinary divisions between architecture, landscape and urban planning. It is also an examination of the site’s architectural engagement and the interrelationships of the various scales. At a large scale, a conceptual strategy is developed for the scale of the site itself while at the smaller scale it is a proposal for a small scale insertion into the site.

An example of Winnipeg’s occasionally irreconcilable segmentations of the urban fabric as a result of its necessary infrastructural planning for roads, rail lines and rivers, the Fort Rouge Railyard is a diagonal slice sitting at the intersection of a historic trail (now the Pembina highway) and the historic river lot grid system. A first phase of a proposed new rapid transit corridor is slated to pass through the site, including a stop that would act as hub for the proposed leisure facility.

A municipal community centre and related commercial activity is proposed through the simultaneous investigation of urban and architectural interrelationships. Building development is conceived as a “zooming in” to the site scale and also as an elaboration and continuation of the large scale of design. This concept of a leisure landscape, acting at the site development level, is conceived as another embodied instance of the existing network of park and amenity spaces in Winnipeg, with extensive qualitative and quantitative site exploration. This included abstracted readings of the site’s patterns and textures into a three-dimensional continuous surface of rail tracks through the site, utilizing the existing street pattern of the river lot grid system, and the repetitive pattern of the adjacent neighbourhood.

Boutin: This project is recognized for many interesting ideas and objectives, not the least of which is the strategic re-development of leftover spaces so prevalent in North American cities. The author was able to skillfully integrate different disciplines in order to appropriately address an intervention at this scale and complexity, and do so in a conceptually provocative and feasible way as well.

Rosenberg: Once again here is another project that demonstrates how the thoughtful integration of building into landscape and landscape into context creates such a rich and cohesive whole. This is a dynamic solution to the issue of how to reinvent derelict industrial lands and bring them back to life as fully integrated components of the urban fabric.

Sherman: I appreciate the way in which the overall site organization and sectional idea is carried through to the architectural scale of the building project, which both clearly references the striated texture, and yet, in the introduction of the loop-shaped courtyard, is not subservient to it.