RBC Convention Centre Construction Progress: Q & A With Bob Eastwood

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The $180 million expansion of Winnipeg’s RBC Convention Centre will enhance the city’s core by attracting larger conferences, events and shows while offering spectacular views of downtown. Numberten.com interviewed Bob Eastwood to provide an update on construction progress and shed light on some of the interesting features of the design.

How is construction at the RBC Winnipeg Convention Centre progressing at this point?
Construction is progressing very well given the scale, complexity and enormous volume of the spaces. The Number TEN/LM Architectural Groups in Joint Venture are working in a design build team with Stuart Olson Construction Ltd., who are leading the project and are very committed to meeting substantial target dates in November of this year.

That’s very exciting to hear. What is currently happening at the site right now?
Work is underway in a number of key areas. The main ballroom, a 4,000 person ballroom on the main floor, is getting ready for the installation of the wood ceilings and is getting closer to the finishing stages.
Since the project has a huge footprint, much of which spans a street, the soffits are the biggest single exterior element to finish. Also, in the next month or so, work will begin on a unique architectural feature – a perforated stainless steel screen over York Avenue that will be lit up at night.

A key focal point area underway is the City Room, featuring a custom ceiling design of a very contemporary crystal-like pattern that in many ways alludes to the idea of fractured ice and northern snow.

Tell us a little bit more about the City Room. What was the idea behind it?
The City Room takes advantage of the incredible urban design opportunity created by the RBC Convention Centre’s location in the heart of downtown Winnipeg. 

To expand the useable convention floor space we bridged an entire city block, effectively almost doubling the space, extending south over York Avenue. This created a very unique opportunity: an enormous piece of the new building that is, in fact, a bridge looking east and west. 

Bridging York Avenue, the City Room features 50 foot high glass walls offering sweeping city views towards the Human Rights Museum on one side and the legislative district on the other. Moveable walls will allow the space to become discreet or dynamic for major events. 

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Can you give us a sense of how much glass is used in this room? 
The room is approximately 130 feet wide and an entire city block long, and cantilevers out over adjacent streets. It is about 30 feet to the underside of the trusses, and the trusses are 20 feet deep and 50 feet to the ceiling. The room is basically glazed floor-to-ceiling at the east and west ends for the entire width of the room. 

What kind of power system, then, is used to heat and cool a room of that size? 
The LEED Silver certification process is already underway and has been submitted to the Canada Green Building Council for evaluation. Part of that process requires we optimize the building envelope, the quality of the glazing and the efficiency of the heating systems. It is a traditional system in that there are boilers for hot water heating and chillers for air handling, which we optimized. The high levels of ventilation required for convention centres made this a challenge, so we did everything we could to recover energy from that ventilation process.

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Can you tell us a little bit about the original convention centre? 
The original convention centre was designed as an architectural consortium by Number TEN and LM Architectural Group in 1969, and completed in 1974. It was the first major new convention centre in Canada at the time and was unique within all of North America. 

The design had a number of unique features. It is three levels and built in the middle of a major city, as opposed to in the suburbs and on just one level. The convention floor is situated at the top, allowing for the largest useable floor space, and a built-in ramp system allows for the quick supply, movement and turnaround of materials. The building is designed so you can drive semi-trucks up to unload materials on the third floor of the centre itself, and then down a ramp on the other side of the building. 

We're working on the expansion with LMN Architects, an international convention centre design consultant from Seattle. When they saw this 40 year old convention centre they said it's an excellent piece of planning for its day as it still functions very well, whereas many older convention centres from that period do not still function well for use.

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How then does the new design enhance the existing one? How do they play together?
The designs work together on a couple of levels. The existing building had very tight space from the lobbies adjacent to the convention floor. The new convention centre has a major public lobby on the third level, which may become more common for use as the major entry point to large conventions, and the expansion lobby on the east side also accommodates large groups on the ground floor. 

A glass bridge from the mezzanine level connects through to the existing building at the second floor, and glass railed stairs and an escalator run up to the third floor. That space serves both the convention floor and the City Room and is a real improvement on the existing building in creating additional space. 

Another major part of the expansion is the ballroom. The current ballroom is on the ground floor with 12 or 13 foot ceilings, and columns which become a real issue in planning sight lines for major public events. The new ballroom is designed as a large, contiguous space with 20 foot ceilings able to seat several thousand people for dinner with a clear span, and moveable wall systems so it can be broken into four different configurations. It opens up onto York Avenue, which is unique, so you can have all the moveable walls open and the ballroom features a glass wall looking north onto the street.

The existing ballroom has full commercial kitchens to serve 2,500 people. The new convention centre will feature another complete commercial kitchen to serve several major events at once and supply the ballroom, multi-purpose space and convention centre events at the same time.

When it's open, will the new facility be able to accommodate different types of events than they've been able to in the past?
It positions the City to take a whole new level of shows and compete at a new level nationally and internationally. There are tiers of convention centres – a Tier One convention centre would be the biggest major ones like Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. The expansion takes the RBC Convention Centre into Tier Two, competing with Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa and, to a degree, Montreal. 

No other convention centre in North America has the City Room concept where a massive convention floor is glazed to the city. This expansion also includes a truck ramp to the third floor and a complete new set of loading docks so they can set up and break down a show at the same time, giving them the opportunity for much tighter schedules and tremendous flexibility

When people walk into the new convention centre for the first time, what do you think they’ll notice as soon as when they walk in?
In order to deliver the project on a very tight budget, we've kept the building simple and clean. People will notice the very large-scale light-filled spaces, the colours, the patterned terrazzo floors. It will be much more open and clear with entirely different paths of movement between the convention levels and the main floor. It's a scale of space that people don't experience very often, and the opportunity to do major events.

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Partner Dave Lalama Elected President of Manitoba Association of Architects

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Throughout his 25-year architecture career, Dave has amassed an impressive resume leading a multitude of successful projects spanning the hospitality, entertainment, commercial and recreation sectors. But perhaps even more notable is Dave’s consistent, dedicated service to a variety of community organizations and causes. At the Manitoba Association of Architect’s annual general meeting in June, his commitment to architecture and charity work was recognized by his peers through his induction as incoming President.

The Manitoba Association of Architects (MAA) is a self-governing body that regulates the practice of architecture in the province. The organization’s mandate is to serve and protect the public interest and advancement of the architectural profession with a focus on enforcing high standards of practice, ethics and integrity.

“Dave’s enthusiasm and personable nature, combined with his drive and knowledge of the field are a perfect fit for this role,” says Number TEN’s practice leader Greg Hasiuk. “Having known Dave personally and professionally for many years, I have no doubt he will make significant and lasting contributions during his tenure.”

Dave’s priorities in the coming year include strengthening the profile of the MAA, raising the profile of architecture and its importance in shaping healthy and dynamic communities, while building on the traditions of the association. He also plans to work closely with council and MAA committees to advance the organization’s relationship with all levels of government, with colleagues in the engineering and design associations, as well as with the University of Manitoba’s School of Architecture.

Seven Stones Community School Wins People’s Choice Award - Best Overall

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Situated in an economically disadvantaged area of Regina, Saskatchewan, Seven Stones Community School proudly stands as a statement of cultural diversity and sustainable design for 21st Century learning environments. Designed with extensive input solicited from staff, students, school officials, community residents, and other important stakeholders, Seven Stones is a reflection of the vision and hopes of an entire community. Earlier this month, just one year after its grand opening, the school earned the People’s Choice Award - Best Overall project from the Council of Educational Facility Planners International, Pacific Northwest Region – an internationally recognized organization dedicated to improving the places where children learn.

Seven Stones Community School from Number TEN Architectural Group on Vimeo.

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Upon entering the colourful, curved lines of the facility, it becomes quickly apparent that this is not your typical K-8 school. The state-of-the-art facility, which opened in time for the 2014-2015 school year, implements a wealth of innovative design strategies that serve to maximize student achievement, flexibility of space and inquiry-based learning while celebrating the unique cultural makeup of the community.

Client Goals, Program and Design Solution
The unique learning environment at Seven Stones is the product of an extensive integrated design process (IDP) involving school officials, teachers, students and community members who worked closely together to ensure the design solution addressed the goals, concerns and hopes of all project stakeholders.

The design objectives evolving from the IDP workshops included:
• Flexible teaching arrangements and instructional groupings
• An emphasis on both student and teacher collaboration, inclusiveness and community integration
• Implementation of interdisciplinary and inquiry based teaching and learning
• Improved student engagement and performance.

Number TEN`s design solution fully responds to each of these goals, resulting in a facility the community is truly proud of.

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Layout
The school is organized around three student clusters, separated by grade level, which converge into a central student commons. Each cluster contains its own welcoming cubby area, universal washrooms, teacher workroom, and a variety of flexible learning spaces. Da Vinci studios, open wet and messy zones, and an outdoor project terrace provide a variety of opportunities for inquiry based learning.

The commons space is used for a variety of purposes, from general assemblies and school performances to serving as flexible library and instructional space. The flexibility of the spaces promote active student collaboration and group work, with a seemingly endless variety of learning configurations to choose from to suit any type of individual or group task.

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Contribution and Response to the Unique Nature of the Surrounding Community
Seven Stones is situated on the same site as the former school that preceded it. Understandably, many community members and students were attached to the pre-existing school. The new school is responsive to this, creatively re-using recognizable features of the original school, including some of the original stone façade elements and original oak doors to help tell the story of the school that stood before it.

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Seven Stones is situated in an economically disadvantaged area where many of the students are classified as being at-risk. The community comprises a sizable Aboriginal population, as well as a large contingent of new immigrants and other under-represented groups. The school celebrates the unique and culturally diverse make-up of the community through its central design theme: a mosaic of colour and harmony.

The three school clusters, each colour-coded by grade level, converge to meet in the central commons area. Here, the colours blend together to form a beautiful artistic statement of ethnic diversity and social unity.

Seven Stones also offers:
• A central community kitchen and student meal plan to ensure proper nutrition for its economically disadvantaged students.
• A dedicated First Nations space, called the Hawks Nest serves as a home base for community elders, where cultural traditions are practiced and celebrated.
• Access to the school’s public spaces after school hours, where various community groups converge to use the facility much like a traditional community centre.

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Sustainability
Central to Regina Public School’s Structural Innovation Framework – a bold effort to improve school designs for the 21st century student – is a dedication to sustainable design strategies that mitigate impacts on the environment while improving the student experience. Designed to a LEED ® Silver target, Seven Stones implements a variety of ecologically sensitive design strategies including:
• In-slab radiant floor heating and cooling
• Displacement HVAC system
• High-efficiency boilers
• Extensive use of recycled materials
• Daylighting strategies
• High-performance building envelope
• Distinctive south facing exterior sunshade panels.

But the story of environmental preservation extends far beyond the typical energy performance and cost-saving design strategies. Seven Stones takes the concept of sustainable design an important step further by highlighting its green features to educate the next generation about environmental stewardship.

Much like a ‘3-D textbook’, the school’s green features, such as its tubular skylights, in-floor heating and ventilation systems are intentionally exposed to educate students about the importance of environmental preservation. At the main entry, an educational green kiosk displays real-time energy savings to encourage green thinking while inspiring and reminding students and other building users of the value of environmental sustainability.

Adaptability to Changing Educational Delivery
Seven Stones’ innovative design features set out to redefine educational delivery for the 21st century student. The ‘cells and bells’ approach to design, the norm throughout the past century, has been set aside in favour of more flexible, varied, and technologically rich spaces to better support and celebrate a wide variety of learning styles.
Seven Stones represents a new approach to school design in Canada; one that is sustainable, forward-thinking, culturally sensitive, and enhances the student and community experience.

Project Team

Client: Regina Public Schools, Saskatchewan Ministry of Education
Architects: Number TEN Architectural Group in collaboration with Fielding Nair International
Structural: Browlee Beaton Kreke
Mechanical: MacPherson Engineering Ltd
Electrical: Ritenburg & Associates
Civil: Associated Engineering
Landscape: Crosby Hanna & Associates
LEED: MMM Group
Construction: Clark Builders
MAJOR SUPPLIERS
Furniture: VS Furnishings
Carpeting: Shaw Contract Group
Resilient Flooring: Johnsonite, Mondo
Ceiling Tile Systems: Armstrong
Masonry: Sioux City Brick, Gillis Quarries
Curtainwall, Windows & Sunshade Panels: Alumicor
Glazing: AGC

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Gateway to the Arctic Building Earns LEED® Certification

Just one week after our announcement of the International Polar Bear Conservation’s achievement of LEED® certification, a second facility at the Assiniboine Park Zoo picked up the sustainable design recognition from the Canada Green Building Council. The Gateway to the Arctic building, designed by The Portico Group in association with Number TEN, is now recognized as a LEED Silver certified building due to its impressive sustainable design features and superior energy performance.

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The ‘centrepiece’ of the Journey to Churchill Exhibit, the Journey to the Arctic building is one-of-a kind facility featuring a 360-degree domed theatre that provides viewers with a new multimedia fuelled perspective on the landscape and animals that grace Manitoba’s north.

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The facility is best known for its large salt water aquarium for polar bears, which visitors can view from underneath a 10-foot-wide acrylic tunnel. Watch video of the polar bears taking a dip in their salt water pool on opening day here.

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What is LEED?
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is an international green building rating system that is recognized as the international mark of excellence for sustainable design in 150 countries.




Assiniboine Park Zoo's International Polar Bear Conservation Centre Awarded LEED Silver Certification

Home to the majority of the world’s arctic polar bear population, Canada has a unique responsibility to protect these majestic predators of the north. Concerns about the health of our polar bear population stem in large part from climate change and its impact on the natural habitat. It was important for the state-of-the-art International Polar Bear Conservation Centre at Assiniboine Park Zoo to set an example for responsible, sustainable architectural design that mitigates impacts on the environment.

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The International Polar Bear Conservation Centre (IPBCC) is a key component to Winnipeg’s new Journey to Churchill exhibit at the zoo, designed by Number TEN and Seattle’s Portico Group. The 912 sq. m. facility contributes to environmental and wildlife education, research, conservation and rehabilitation of orphaned polar bear cubs. Earlier this week, the facility earned LEED Silver certification for excellence in green building from the Canada Green Building Council.

The facility houses the zoo’s polar bear rescue and transition program, designed to rehabilitate cubs for eventual placement in pre-approved facilities. In consultation with conservationists, the sub-arctic landscape structures and animal enclosure walls were fabricated and installed to mimic the bear’s natural habitat, using artificial materials and finishes that simulate snow, ice formations, the Canadian Shield, and Hudson Bay cobble and sand beaches.

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The project included the renovation of an existing 273.5 sq. m. building on the site along with a new 638 sq. m. addition. The existing building was upgraded with new bear enclosures and transfer chutes designed to meet current zoo standards, along with new offices and a food preparation area. The new addition houses a mix of interactive public display areas, as well as private office, research and educational spaces. Using high-tech exhibits, hands-on artifacts, and interactive displays, visitors can explore trends in climate change science.

Green building strategies for the International Polar Bear Conservation Centre include the incorporation of a unique district geothermal energy system that shares energy with nearby buildings at the site, implementation of energy and water efficiency technologies, significant reductions of waste produced through construction, extensive use of recycled construction materials, sourcing of locally produced materials wherever possible, and use of FSC Certified wood for construction.

What is LEED?
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is an international green building rating system that is recognized as the international mark of excellence for sustainable design in 150 countries. Learn more about LEED accreditation here. 

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Up There With The Best

Number TEN Architectural Group was presented with an award in recognition of its status as One of Canada’s Best Managed Companies at an elegant gala and symposium event on March 31, 2015 in Toronto.

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Photo: Practice Leader Greg Hasiuk accepts Best Managed Companies award on behalf of Number TEN.

Sponsored by Deloitte, CIBC, National Post, Queen’s School of Business and MacKay CEO Forums, the Best Managed award recognizes Canadian owned and managed companies with revenues over $10 million for sustained growth, financial performance, management practices and the efforts of the entire organization.

The event, attended by all of Number TEN’s six current partners and recently retired partner Terry Cristall, included a symposium addressing leading-edge business issues that are key to the success of today’s business leaders. For more information on the best managed companies program, please visit www.bestmanagedcompanies.ca

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Photo: (from left) Number TEN Partners Barry Cosgrave, Barrie Ottenbreit, Doug Hanna and Greg Hasiuk attending Best Managed Companies Symposium.

 

 

Qualico Family Centre Recognized With Prairie Wood Design Award

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Number TEN’s design of the Qualico Family Centre and Park Cafe was recognized with a Prairie Wood Design Award presented at a gala event on March 17, 2015 at the Fairmont Hotel MacDonald in Edmonton, AB. One of the central components to the first phase Assiniboine Park’s redevelopment, the Family Centre features a unique nature-inspired design that offers beautiful views of the duck pond and surrounding forest. 

Upon entering, visitors pass through a compressed entry vestibule into an expansive sun lit gallery. Internal spaces are defined by a fractured roof geometry of warm heavy timber that evokes an image of walking beneath the forest canopy.

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Wood floors are made from oak trees lost during the construction of the facility. Soaring transparent walls allow the trees themselves to define the boundaries of each space, as if the rooms were carved from the forest, blurring the distinction between inside and out.

The Prairie Wood Design Awards recognize the vision of architects, engineers, contractors and manufacturers in creating beautiful, functional and sustainable buildings for us to work and live in. The Qualico Family Centre and Park Café also earned a Commerce Design Award in 2014.

For more information about this project, please click here. 

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Number TEN Named One of Canada’s Best Managed Companies

Number TEN earned the title of one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies program for 2014, sponsored by Deloitte, CIBC, National Post, Queen’s School of Business and MacKay CEO Forums. “I would like to congratulate Number TEN and its entire workforce. Achieving this standard of excellence takes a united effort from a dedicated team,” says Peter Brown, National Co-Leader of Canada’s Best Managed Companies Program and Senior Practice Partner, Deloitte.

Click Here to Read the National Post Article


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Phase 1 Misericordia Health Centre Grand Opening

An extraordinarily complex healthcare redevelopment project was unveiled today during a ribbon cutting ceremony at the new Buhler Eye Care Centre, part of an ambitious redevelopment occurring at Misericordia Health Centre in Winnipeg. President and COO Rosie Jacuzzie declared phase one of the redevelopment complete and offered words of thanks to the many stakeholders who helped make the eight-year project a definitive success.

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The first phase of Misericordia’s overhaul involved replacing existing 1900-era wood frame structure (Maryland Wing) with carefully planned new and renovated structures that serve to consolidate a variety of healthcare departments into a modern, sustainable and efficient new healthcare environment.

One of the principal challenges of the project was to maintain full healthcare operations during construction, which was made possible by a carefully coordinated and executed phasing plan led by architectural prime consultant Number TEN Architectural Group. The first phase of the redevelopment includes the new Buhler Eye Care Centre, a new ambulatory diagnostic centre, and space for the new PRIME program, which offers elderly patients a variety of healthcare, wellness, community and recreational programming to assist them in remaining in their own homes as long as possible.

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Number TEN provided full architectural, planning and interior design services as part of the 85,000 sq.ft. (7896 sq.m) project, plus approximately 20,000 sq.ft. of renovation in the existing buildings.

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New Maples Collegiate Judy Silver Student Commons Opens

On Wednesday, December 10 the new student commons at Maples Collegiate officially opened to a packed house consisting of students, alumni, community members and other project stakeholders. The new 17,000 sq. ft. Judy Silver Student Commons was unveiled with a formal ribbon cutting ceremony following an impressive event program organized by Maples’ students, complete with hors d'oeuvres created by students in the culinary arts program and live performances by the high school orchestral band and choir.

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“It was amazing to see the excitement on the students’ faces as they interacted with the new space,” says Christina Legris, Project Architect with Number TEN Architectural Group. “They put on a fantastic event and we were very impressed with the student performances. The acoustics and overall layout of the space worked exactly as we intended them to. It’s always wonderful to see the vision of an entire community come together.”

The new student commons area is unlike any other in Winnipeg. The goal of the project was to connect two separate school facilities in both a physical and social sense, while drawing inspiration from the natural calmness and tranquility of a birch-wood forest.

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“The addition was conceived as a transparent cube with a deep sheltering roof that sits within a grouping of trees,” explains Doug Hanna, a Partner with Number TEN. “Irregularly spaced and angled columns were inspired by the randomness of a forest. The windows and coloured glass create a visual connection between the exterior soft landscape and interior of the commons.”

The interior design re-enforces the forest theme, with a bright yet natural colour palette and intricate patterning inspired from the randomness of nature. “The angled columns were reflected in the interior design, using patterns and circles that create a stimulating and fun environment for the students and community,” says Kristin Sidoryk, an interior designer at Number TEN. “The shadows created from the way natural light is drawn into the space interact with the patterning on the floor, adding energy and character to the room.”

More images can be viewed on Flickr

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