An early sketch of Manitoba Hydro's public atrium. Credit: Kael Opie, KPMB Arhcitects
The unusual form of the 'Comfort Tower' is being described by Winnipegers and the press as a "Capital A" or an "Open Book." It is a dynamic response to solar and wind energies and has provided an excellent design for achieving goals of supportive workplace, urban response and signature design. Two 18-storey 'towers' penetrate a three-storey, street-related podium which contains an accessible grade-level interior street, the Galleria, to offer citizens a sheltered pedestrian route connecting Portage to Graham Avenues. The tower setbacks also mitigate shadow impact on Portage, the city's historic main shopping street. The siting of the south end of the building on a 45 degree angle also created space for a new urban park on the Graham Street transit corridor. The green roofs on the podium further the green agenda.
The 'towers' splay open to the south to capture the abundant sunlight and southerly winds and in effect act as a double wall partitioned into a series of stacked, six-storey high atria - referred to as 'Wintergardens'. The towers fuse at the north end, which receives the least sunlight, and features a 115 metre tall Solar Chimney which marks the main entrance on Portage.
Manitoba Hydro Place has already received numerous awards for its design, including:
- Royal Architectural Institute of Canada National Urban Design Award (2010)
- AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects Award (2010)
- ACEC Canadian Consulting Engineering Award - Buildings (2010)
- CTBUH Best Tall Building Americas (2009)
- Canadian Architect Award of Excellence (2006)
- MIPIM/Architectural Review Awards: Commended for Innovation (2006)
- International Building Skin-tech Award (IBS): Highly commended (2008)