Winners of 2010 Prairie Design Awards

Award of Merit

Category: Recent Work

John A. Russell Bldg. Exterior Envelope Replacement
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Architect: LM Architectural Group

Owner/Client: University of Manitoba

Structural Engineer: Crosier Kilgour & Partners Ltd.

Mechanical Engineer: SMS Engineering Ltd.

Electrical Engineer: MCW / AGE Consulting Engineers

Contractor: Bockstael Construction Ltd.

Cos. Consultant: PCL Constructors Canada Ltd.

The Project

Completed in 1958, the iconic John A. Russell Building for the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Manitoba represented the modernist ideology of its progressive dean for whom the building is named.

While having the appearance of a curtain wall exterior cladding system, the original design was in reality a hybrid of early curtain wall technology and wood frame construction, assembled to appear like curtain wall. While highly innovative, the unique cladding system had deteriorated over time to the point where replacement was the only option.

Recognizing the historic value of the original deign, a preservation approach was taken in the restoration of the building envelope. This began with the preparation of a pre-design report documenting the critical design principles of the original building that were to be respected, and analyzing each component of the building envelope in terms of its existing condition and the technical and aesthetic considerations affecting their replacement. This necessitated a coordinated effort by the design team working in close collaboration with client to resolve the technical deficiencies while maintaining the integrity of design and the selection of cladding materials and I the refinement of details.

With the building envelope completed in 2006 and the restoration of the courtyard to its original design in 2009, the Russell Building is ready to inspire another generation of students with its elegant simplicity and timeless beauty.


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