Exhibition space at the University of Manitoba

2008

Two sites were examined on opposite sides of the University of Manitoba campus for the construction of an exhibition space and a review space for architecture critiques. Both sites needed to be independent of the power grid.

The review space

Location of the review space

My design of the review space took its cues from the works of Tadao Ando and Kengo Kuma. The exhibition space was a square structure, clad in polished concrete with entrances on all four sides. One streetside entrance featured a wheelchair ramp. Four room-height wooden-panel walls on tracks served as dividers in order to partition the space as needed. Larger groups could keep the dividers pushed out, while a small group could seclude themselves in one section with two dividers pushed in. A double band of windows ran horizontally around the top of the structure to allow light to penetrate the space. The polished concrete walls evoked feelings of permanence and confidence.

Review space in context

In order to reduce the weight of the large wooden separating panels, the core of each panel was filled with horizontally-laid cardboard, which served a double purpose of also dampening sound in the space. The panels sat in tracks built into the concrete with wooden rollers fitted in them. The many doors ensured that other groups in the space would not be disturbed by the coming and going of other students in the space.

Review space in plan

Review space in elevation

The exhibition space

Location of the exhibition space

Facing onto the banks of the Red River, the exhibition space featured an open-air concept and a style similar to Diller and Scofidio's Slow House. Constructed of a wooden plank system, the walls of the space were at the same time transparent and enclosing, allowing sunlight and wind to penetrate. The visitor would begin their viewing of works from the top of the bank, and reach the bottom of the space which featured a balcony. Here, the spectacular view of the river could be enjoyed before the visitor continued back up to the exit. On the way back up more works/projects could be viewed, all in natural light. A hybrid horizon was created with the infusion of art along the horizontal gaps in the walls. As a horizon can be interpreted as the end of the earth (as far as the eye can see), the final projects displayed were a continuation of this idea - the final project was the conclusion of the original idea. The viewing balcony was intended to draw attention to the most important aspect of the site. The river and the opposite bank served as the main attraction and acted as a reward for the visitor's trek from the top of the bank to the bottom.

Exhibition space in context

Exhibition space in plan