sustainable :: Aboriginal Student Centre

329.6 kWh/m2/yr
29.1 Annual CO2 Emissions

114 Sidney Smith St., Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

University of Manitoba

Dominion Construction

S/ Wolfrom Eng. Ltd.
M/ Faraci Eng. Ltd.

16,000 sf

$5.0 Million

Completed 2008

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Situated in a central location on the main Fort Garry campus, this facility signifies the commitment and mutual respect shared between the University and the Aboriginal community. The Aboriginal House will act as a central gathering place for Aboriginal students, alumni, and staff as well as an oasis to the campus at large. The building was designed using an Integrated Design Process with a large design team comprised of 4 Aboriginal Elders, student reps, Aboriginal alumni and program staff, donors, U of M administrators, cost, energy modelling, LEED and engineering consultants. The project design was based on the teachings of Aboriginal traditional medicine wheel balanced with the formal historic planning of the University. The architects worked with Aboriginal artists and curators to define places in the building to display historical artefacts and traditional artwork. The plan is organized into four components using the four directions as the cultural orientation: a student reading room and lounge has a curving wall of glass to the south and the major pedestrian street on campus; a two storey circular entrance lobby and gathering place is bathed in sunlight by upper south glazing and forms the heart of the building; a circular Healing Room adjoins the main form to the west; and a two-storey administration wing sits on the campus grid to the north of the gathering place.

Indigenous materials such as stone and wood reflect the organic, holistic approach. A locally-quarried, feature tyndall stone wall traverses the true east-west axis and provides guidance and orientation within the building, rising from the earth in the East and returning to it in the west. Using less than a 1% contingency, this project was completed in the summer of 2008.

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