5468796 Architecture's Response to The Guardian Over their "Failed" Social Housing Project

09:30 - 29 January, 2016
© James Brittain Photography
© James Brittain Photography

Early this month, The Guardian published a widely shared and debated article titled "Crime in the community: when 'designer' social housing goes wrong." The article told the story of Centre Village, a social housing project in Winnipeg designed by 5468796 Architecture and Cohlmeyer Architecture Limited, examining how noble intentions resulted in what they describe as "apartments poorly suited to family life, and a building structure that seems to act as a magnet for drinking and drug-taking at all hours."

Unsurprisingly 5468796 Architecture, who disagreed with much of the article's conclusions, wrote a response to the editor of Guardian Cities in the hope that their "letter to the editor" would provide some balance to the story. After The Guardian declined to publish the letter, the firm reached out to ArchDaily to ensure that their side of the debate was heard. Here is that letter in full.

We are writing to you in response to the Guardian article concerning Centre Village and many of the comments and re-posts over the last week. We believe the story that was published was inaccurate and provide the following for your information:

© James Brittain Photography © 5468796 Architecture © James Brittain Photography © James Brittain Photography +7

When "Designer" Social Housing Goes Wrong: The Failures of Winnipeg's Center Village Project

14:00 - 5 January, 2016
Centre Village / 5468796 Architecture + Cohlmeyer Architecture Limited. Image © James Brittain Photography
Centre Village / 5468796 Architecture + Cohlmeyer Architecture Limited. Image © James Brittain Photography

The challenges of designing social housing are complex. As Martha Thorne recently told the Guardian, "It’s not enough to make community space and say, ‘People are going to see each other’... Architects really have to understand the context from the client – the cultural context, to the bigger context, to the economics, to the future of the residents who’ll live there.” Speaking about Winnipeg's well intentioned Centre Village project designed by 5468796 Architecture, Thorne believes many of these challenges are new to architects.  

Just five years old, Center Village was designed as a community-oriented micro village for 25 families in one of Canada's poorest urban areas. Since its establishment, the complex has become a hot bed for crime; courtyards are being used by vagrants as shelter from police, while large families try to make a life within the cramp quarters of each home.

youCUBE / 5468796 Architecture

09:00 - 20 July, 2015
© James Brittain
© James Brittain

© James Brittain © James Brittain © James Brittain © James Brittain +34

548 Stradbrook Condominiums / 5468796 Architecture

10:00 - 11 April, 2015
© James Brittain Photography
© James Brittain Photography

© James Brittain Photography © James Brittain Photography © James Brittain Photography © James Brittain Photography +17

Lateral Office's 2014 Venice Biennale 'Arctic Adaptations' Exhibition To Tour Canada

00:00 - 24 February, 2015

Lateral Office's Arctic Adaptations exhibition, which was recognised with a Special Mention at the 2014 Venice Biennale, will travel make its debut in Canada at the Winnipeg Art Gallery this week before heading to Whitehouse, Vancouver, and Calgary. The exhibition "surveys a century of Arctic architecture, an urbanising present, and a projective near future of adaptive architecture in Nunavut" though interactive models, photography, and topographical maps of the twenty five communities of the area, as well as Inuit carvers’ scale models of some of the most recognised buildings in the territory. In addition, it proposes a future of adaptive and responsive architecture for Canada's northern territories.

Valentine's Day Concept by Kilometrezero is Sure to Warm Your Heart

00:00 - 14 February, 2015
Courtesy of Kilometrezero
Courtesy of Kilometrezero

Capturing the spirit of the annual Warming Huts design competition, Paris and Barcelona-based architecture firm Kilometrezero, or KM(0), has developed this conceptual project for a warming hut in Winnipeg. Fondly referred to as the "Valentine's Day concept" and aptly named KM(3) – Warming Heart, the project is intended as an inviting space for visitors to escape the winter chill between sports activities, and a symbolic structure that visually evokes the idea of warmth.

Courtesy of Kilometrezero Courtesy of Kilometrezero Concept Diagram Elevation +7

Warming Huts v.2015 Competition Winners

00:00 - 1 December, 2014
Shelter Winner: The Hole Idea / Weiss Architecture & Urbanism Limited (Toronto). Image Courtesy of Warming Huts
Shelter Winner: The Hole Idea / Weiss Architecture & Urbanism Limited (Toronto). Image Courtesy of Warming Huts

A “blind” jury has announced the 2015 winners of the international Warming Huts competition. Selected from 100 entries, two winning “shelter” designs and one “installation” design were awarded. Each winning proposal will be constructed in January alongside the longest naturally frozen skating trail in the world: the Red River Mutual Rivertrail in Winnipeg, Canada. More about the winning designs, and four other highlighted proposals, after the break.

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights: "Failed Memorial and White Elephant"?

00:00 - 10 November, 2014
Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Image © Aaron Cohen/CMHR-MCDP
Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Image © Aaron Cohen/CMHR-MCDP

In an article for The Walrus, Adele Weder examines Antoine Predock's (who was recently made a National Academy Academician) Canadian Museum for Human Rights: a "colossal, twelve-storey mountain of concrete and stone, 120,000 square feet of tempered glass, and 260,000 square feet of floor space." Early advocates of the museum "felt that Winnipeg was ripe for such a statement piece," just as Bilbao had been for the Guggenheim. Welder's explorations are clear and concise, finding all sorts "of paradoxes swirling around the Museum for Human Rights." Noting that "it’s definitely a kick-ass building, with its aggressive outer form, jagged paths inside, big black slabs of basalt, thick sheets of glass, and the huge metal girders that hold it all together," Weder argues that it's position as a "failed memorial and white elephant" may be it's eventual undoing.

OS31 Designs Pop-Up Restaurant on a Frozen River

01:00 - 23 October, 2014
Courtesy of OS31
Courtesy of OS31

UK architects OS31 have recently won a competition to design RAW:almond, “the first ever outdoor dining restaurant on a frozen body of water.” The temporary restaurant has set up for business in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada for the last two years, and for 2015 the organizers held an international open competition for the winning design. This year’s design establishes itself as an expressive frame that appears to float across the ice like a frozen jetty. Learn more about the winning proposal after the break.

Courtesy of OS31 Courtesy of OS31 Courtesy of OS31 Courtesy of OS31 +4

AD Round Up: Canadian Architecture to Be Thankful For

00:00 - 13 October, 2014
The Crystal, extension to the Royal Ontario Museum by Studio Daniel Libeskind. Image © Andrew Rowat
The Crystal, extension to the Royal Ontario Museum by Studio Daniel Libeskind. Image © Andrew Rowat

Today marks Canadian Thanksgiving, and to celebrate the occasion we've rounded up some of Canada's best architecture. Our five selections represent five Canadian cities, each with a unique architectural sensibility. We begin in Toronto with the Royal Ontario Museum addition by Studio Daniel Libeskind, a striking intervention using prisms of glass and steel fused to a 102-year-old museum structure; next we go to Montréal for Habitat 67 by Moshe Safdie, an interlocking modular housing project designed for the World Exposition of 1967; to Calgary for Santiago Calatrava's understated Peace Bridge, a stunning glass-encased red lightning bolt spanning the city's widest waterway; then to Winnipeg's Old Market Square Stage by emerging firm 5468796 Architecture, a chameleonic performance space wrapped by a mesh curtain of steel cubes; and finally to the outskirts of Vancouver for the Richmond Olympic Oval, a masterpiece of engineering and the centre of attention during the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. Enjoy, eh.

Hygge House / Plain Projects + Pike Projects + Urbanink

00:00 - 6 August, 2013
© Jen Pauls
© Jen Pauls

© Evan Marnoch © Evan Marnoch © Dan Harper © Liz Wreford Taylor +7

Centre Village / 5468796 Architecture + Cohlmeyer Architecture Limited

01:00 - 9 June, 2013
© James Brittain Photography
© James Brittain Photography

© James Brittain Photography © James Brittain Photography © 5468796 Architecture © James Brittain Photography +24

The Old Market Square Stage / 5468796 Architecture

01:00 - 31 May, 2013
© James Brittain
© James Brittain
  • Architects

  • Location

    Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Architect in Charge

    5468796 Architecture
  • Area

    784.0 sqm
  • Project Year

    2010
  • Photographs

    James Brittain

© James Brittain © James Brittain © James Brittain © James Brittain +22

The Avenue on Portage / 5468796 Architecture

01:00 - 21 May, 2013
© James Brittain
© James Brittain

© James Brittain © James Brittain © James Brittain © James Brittain +21

‘Flying Saucer’ Condominium Proposal / 5468796 Architecture

01:00 - 28 April, 2013
© 5468796 Architecture
© 5468796 Architecture

Set for completion in 2014, Winnipeg’s “Flying Saucer” condominium project 62M, designed by Winnipeg-based studio 5468796 Architecture, will occupy the corner of MacDonald Avenue and Waterfront Drive, close to the Exchange District. Named after its address, 62M will be a two-storey, circular building lifted up on 35-foot stilts. Its circular design is spatially efficient and will provide each unit with a view. As a whole, the 360° plan provides the widest possible perimeter for glass with the smallest amount of exterior envelope to construct. More images and architects' description after the break.

Michael Maltzan to Design Inuit Centre

15:00 - 5 December, 2012

Michael Maltzan, an award winning American architect and founder and principal of Michael Maltzan Architecture, Inc., was recently selected to design the Inuit Art and Learning Centre at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. The selection committee was unanimous in choosing Michael Maltzan as the winning architect from 65 prospective teams from 15 countries. This recommendation subsequently received overwhelming approval from the WAG Board of Governors. The Centre houses one of the largest and most celebrated collection of contemporary Inuit art in the world; it’s also home to Studio Art and Learning programs. More information after the break.

The Qualico Family Centre / Number TEN Architectural

01:00 - 25 October, 2012
© Brent Bellamy
© Brent Bellamy

© Brent Bellamy © Brent Bellamy © Brent Bellamy © Brent Bellamy +24

Bloc_10 / 5468796 Architecture

18:00 - 1 October, 2012
© James Brittain
© James Brittain

© James Brittain © James Brittain © James Brittain © James Brittain +13