Text description provided by the architects. The Forks Market Food Hall breathes new life in to one of Winnipeg’s most important and beloved public spaces. The market acts as the city’s living room, a place for people to gather and relax with their friends and loved ones. The design aims to re-deﬁne the aging interior as a modern food hall and event space.
While developing the design, it was important to support both the evolving functions of the public space and the site’s rich history. For hundreds of years The Forks has been a place for both gathering and trade. From the late nineteenth century onward the site was used as a rail yard. The two brick structures that today form the market were once machine shops for freight car and coach repair, and later stables for the rail companies. An atrium space was constructed in the late 1980s linking the two historic structures to create The Forks Market building, establishing a shopping and dining destination.
The Forks’ industrial past inspired the direction of the interior design. Raw steel, hand forged blacksmith work and natural wood detailing are all used to reinforce the character of the historic architecture. An exposed steel structure stretching over the craft beer and wine kiosk, composed of exposed c-channels and bent i-beams, was inspired by the architectural language of Canada’s rail history. Its hand forged steel detailing by a local blacksmith references a traditional industrial art. The existing teal structure was painted dark grey and new lighting was added to enhance the character and material of the original stable buildings. Former horse stalls, which act as food kiosks are outfitted with new tile and steel front counters, consistent signage, and a flexible assortment of equipment to accommodate a variety of food and beverage vendors. New tables with steel bases and swinging circular seats reflect factory plant benches, further relating to The Forks as a place of turn of the century industry.
The design aims to enhance the sense of community in The Forks Market’s central court. Smaller wood tables with hinged drop leaves can transform in to an 80-person harvest table, allowing for large communal gatherings. Arched structures with counter seating and upholstered banquettes define the edge of the hall, creating more intimate seating areas within the larger volume of the space. Suspended above, large metal drum pendants with glowing LED Edison bulbs contribute visual warmth and further define the gathering space.
The Forks has acted as a space for gathering and commerce throughout its rich history. Our hope is that the refreshed food hall will breathe new energy into the space, helping this tradition to continue long in to the future.