Manitoba Hydro’s new headquarters was constructed to meet the public crown corporation’s present and future business needs, while serving as a demonstration for highly energy-efficient building design and operation. The project team was committed to delivering the project using a formal Integrated Design Process (IDP) which was focused on balancing the five key project goals (healthy and productive workplace, energy efficiency, sustainability, signature architecture, and a positive urban impact on Downtown Winnipeg) within a sound financial framework.
"Designed to be completely site specific, this building could not be transplanted to another city in the form we see here; making it the perfect response to the seeming homogenization of the world’s skylines. Manitoba Hydro Place points the way to finding architecture that is intended for its site, and only for its site."
Sustainability was a critical objective of this project, which set the direction for the building’s location and placement on the site, and determined the criteria used to evaluate design options for architecture and engineering. Manitoba Hydro Place sets a new precedent for the balanced integration of architectural design excellence and climate responsiveness, energy efficient sustainable design, and it is a visible testament to Manitoba Hydro’s long term commitment to the health, comfort and pride of its employees, and to all Manitobans.
The 64 000 m² triangular-shaped building maximizes exposure to the south, while minimizing exposure to cold north winds. Two 18-storey twin office tower lofts rest on a three-storey podium with a publicly accessible galleria at grade. The tower is organized to provide identity to the various employee teams through clearly defined vertical ‘neighbourhoods.’ Column-free loft space, raised access floors and exposed concrete ceilings provide an optimal work environment while also maintaining flexibility for future changes. The office tower lofts are joined by three six-storey buffer zone atria or ‘winter gardens’ which command the south elevation and represent signature functional elements in the design. A 377-foot high solar chimney, key to the passive ventilation system, rises above the top of the building on the north side, providing Manitoba Hydro a highly functional and visible icon within Winnipeg’s skyline.