The Manitou a bi Bii daziigae at Red River College Polytechnic has officially opened on the university’s Winnipeg campus.
The project, formerly known as the Innovation Centre Project and designed by Diamond Schmitt and Number TEN Architectural Group in a joint venture, will bring together students with education and industry professionals in new ways that facilitate social innovation, enterprise, and innovative research.
The 10,000-sf facility unites a repurposed downtown concrete framed heritage building and a new construction to create an engaging crossroads in Winnipeg’s historic Exchange District. The building will house a combination of Indigenous and international student spaces, long distance teaching equipped classrooms, digital media labs and events spaces, and faculty offices.
The heart of Manitou a bi Bii daziigae is the agora. The agora is conceived as a place for campus-wide events as well as for group and quiet study. All programs overlook the agora while diagonal circulation invites its crossing and is supported by the collaboration areas that surround it. The sky-lit atrium above the agora blinds diffuse light to the center of the plan. A collaboration zone acts as a front porch between classrooms, the agora, and the atrium. The porch can be used by the classrooms, as a breakout room or project room, or independently booked by students for study groups.
The west corner of the new building is anchored by the 210-seat Roundhouse auditorium. The auditorium has a high degree of flexibility with an acoustically isolated space for ceremonial events, instruction, or celebration. At the roof level is the City Room, a beacon enveloped in a canvas of color representing traditional Indigenous teachings and local history.
The building’s facade is made of Kromatix Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) panels that change color depending on the angle of view and the weather. The facade, which is the first in Canada, conceals the solar cells behind nano-coated glass panels.
The facility’s name translates to where creator sits (Manitou a bi) and brings light (Bii daziigae).