ntagblog-07-2010Coming from rural southern Manitoba, it’s easy to think that we don’t have any “architectural heritage” to look to for inspiration. However, our prairie landscape is rich with remnants that tell the story of our ancestor’s. In my case, it’s the story of people who embraced their community and who were very intentional about how they carried on the traditions of the place they came from.


I have recently re-discovered the beauty of a small Mennonite village about 100km south of Winnipeg called Neubergthal. This is the place where my Great-Grandfather (and others) first settled in Manitoba. The single street is lined with 100 foot tall cottonwood poplars (which were planted from seeds that were brought over from Russia). The village has one of the largest collections of House-barns (that are still standing) in the prairies. These are a unique form of residential/agricultural architecture with roots in northern Germany and Prussia.

It’s really exiting (if that’s the right word for it) to find a place where you can really see how the settler’s beliefs about the community are expressed in what is left of their buildings. I’ve been struck by the simplicity of form, and the “practicality” of the designs. (It’s sort of the “form-follows-function” thing, but I suppose it just happened that way.)  One of my favourite parts about exploring these old buildings is all the things I’ve found which were made by hand. Things like the mortise and tenon joinery in the barn beams, or the hand painted “rugs” on the living room floor really provide a connection between me and the people who made them.

– Michael Hiebert

Number TEN Blog

Number TEN Inspired! captures the knowledge, passion and ideas of our award winning architects, interior designers and supporting staff, as they navigate through the complexities of the modern design landscape. We are creative problem solvers, advocates for better ways of doing things, and observers of all that is interesting and noteworthy in our field. This blog is our effort to share our knowledge and ideas in a way that resonates with everyone. Whether you work in the industry as an architect, interior designer, building manager, property developer, or are just someone with an interest in creativity and new ways of doing things, this blog has something for you.