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Architecture49 alongside True North Real Estate Development and PCL are proud partners in the unveiling of the Wawanesa National Headquarters, another important milestone in transforming the fabric of Winnipeg's downtown

Winnipeg, MB – Architecture49 proudly announces the opening of our latest project in downtown Winnipeg. In addition to our work at Manitoba Hydro Place, The Canadian Museum for Human Rights, and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, we are excited to build on our most recent work at True North Square as the Wawanesa National Headquarters is unveiled. A pivotal project in the revitalization of Winnipeg's downtown core, Wawanesa’s new National Headquarters demonstrates a commitment to architectural excellence, sustainability and employee wellness.

The Wawanesa Headquarters is the third tower developed and owned by True North Square Real Estate Development and its partners. It epitomizes the synergy between visionary architecture, state-of-the-art interior design, and strategic urban development. The project was brought to life through the collaboration between Architecture49 with True North and Wawanesa Insurance, alongside Mulvey and Banani (Electrical Engineering), Entuitive (Structural Engineering), TMP Consulting Engineers (Mechanical Engineering), and PCL Construction (Construction Manager). This partnership was instrumental in advancing the project, ensuring that the design and construction aligned with the shared goal of revitalizing downtown Winnipeg while setting new benchmarks for sustainable and wellness-focused workplace environments.

The design of the Wawanesa National Headquarters, when initiated in 2019, was rooted in the expression of a tangible commitment to two key goals: urban revitalization and employee wellness. Despite the juxtaposition of these goals in their scale, they are both grounded in the values of the community. As Design Architect, Michael Conway explains “At its heart, the design, evoking the prairie river that defines the physical form of the community of Wawanesa, speaks to the powerful interconnection between people and place: the sense of shared experience, and of mutual reliance.” When it comes to building on previous work with True North and PCL, he goes on to say, “Our partners at True North and PCL share this belief of the importance of strengthening community, in support of a broader goal to revitalize the downtown core”.

The headquarters is designed to achieve LEED Gold certification (core and shell) and is seeking WELL Gold Certification, reflecting a profound commitment to environmental stewardship and the health, comfort, and well-being of its occupants. Amenities like Kempton’s Market Café, the Oak Wellness Centre, two outdoor terraces, and training space encourage exploration and collaboration. The top-floor prairie skybox serves as a townhall gathering area, offering panoramic city views and fostering community interaction. Biophilic principles inspire the design of interior and exterior common spaces, promoting employee well-being. An active stairwell encourages movement between floors, and the planning was influenced by providing equal access to natural light and views for all staff, reinforcing the connection to the outdoors.

Wawanesa Project Team Cropped Image
Wawanesa National Headquarters Project Team

"The collaboration with Wawanesa was a remarkable opportunity for our Interior Design practice," states Heather Smith, Workplace Strategies Leader at Architecture49. "Wawanesa emerged as progressive leaders were keen on crafting a workplace that elevates the employee experience for everyone who comes here." She further adds, "Their openness to reimagining the 21st-century office allowed our team to truly innovate, pushing boundaries far beyond the conventional, and redefining the essence of working in an office."

In reimagining a modern office space, Michael Conway notes that, as a post-pandemic workplace, the project “necessitated a re-examination of what it means to design for resiliency and flexibility, while responding to fundamental societal shifts. The Wawanesa building has become a symbol of the rebuilding of healthy communities at all scales and offers tangible solutions that respond to current challenges in the contemporary workplace. It is designed to promote true work/life balance, inclusion and diversity, and the healthy activation of the public realm.”

The completion of the Wawanesa National Headquarters signifies more than just another landmark in Winnipeg's skyline; it represents a transformative force within our city. As Scott Stirton, CEO of Architecture49 states, "As we celebrate this milestone, we anticipate the positive impact the Wawanesa National Headquarters will have on the people of Winnipeg and beyond, inspiring a new era of urban renewal and community empowerment.” This project exemplifies our promise to create spaces that not only inspire but also empower individuals and neighbourhoods in Winnipeg and around the world. The Wawanesa National Headquarters is positioned to have an enduring legacy that may inspire like-minded designs globally, serving as an example of what is possible when people, culture, and imagination come together.

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