Thesis project sees blend of new, historic marketplace
On a late November evening in 1877, the distinctive clip-clop, clip-clop of horses' hooves would pierce through Winnipeg's cold autumn air. The setting sun outlined the silhouette of an overloaded stagecoach staggering along the sharp prairie horizon. Curious onlookers were drawn by the moan of rigid wheels struggling to navigate the city's dusty Main Street. Unfamiliar sounds of foreign voices came from within the American caravan transporting the first three Chinese settlers to the isolated town of 6,500 people.
"The face of the city is changing. The heart beat's stronger. You can feel it in the air. Here's where the city comes alive -- Portage Place!"
The '60s was a decade of sweeping change and exuberant style; Zeppelin and Floyd, Corvettes and Mustangs, bell bottoms and miniskirts. As the baby-boom generation watched man walk on the moon, the ideas of the past were washed away in a tide of forward-looking enthusiasm.
More than four decades later, we remain enamoured with the psychedelic styles and imagery of the Mad Men era, yet architecture finds itself the one artistic expression from that time that is unloved and even reviled in today's popular culture.
There is nothing more frustrating than flying into a new city while sitting in the middle seat of an airplane. You stretch to see over the person beside you who's pressed up against the small round window. You strain to catch a glimpse of the city passing below you, trying to formulate that first impression of the place you are about to experience.
We often seem to rate the urban quality of North American cities in this way, as if we are 1,000 feet in the air. The size of its freeways or the height of its skyline resonate as symbols of civic affluence and vibrancy.
On January 16th, architect Brent Bellamy joined Greg Mackling, host of the Nighthawk on CJOB radio for an hour long dialogue about Winnipeg architecture and urban design issues. Discussion focused on the economic and social challenges caused by urban sprawl and highlighted opportunities to grow the city sustainably in the future, concentrating on the importance of heritage preservation and infill development on sites such as the Kapyong Barracks.Click here to listen to Brent Bellamy's interview on CJOB