Manitoba Hydro Place in urban context. Credit: Gerry Kopelow
Urban revitalization was paramount to the IDT in constructing a building on a large scale relative to the surrounding community. Manitoba Hydro Place marks a tipping point towards the positive and proactive stimulus to urban revitalization by connecting the building to the city, and to the image of the city and its skyline.
The new building connects to the Skywalk via a bridge linking it to Portage Place, the city’s major retail mall. Pedestrian and bicycle routes, public transportation and the creation of weather protected walkways were studied in depth to ensure the new building would be plugged into the city’s infrastructure to perform as an active, integrated hub in the downtown.
The unusual form - described by Winnipegers and the press as a "Capital A" or an "Open Book" - offered the most dynamic response to solar and wind energies as well as optimal conditions 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.