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RRC POLYTECH Manitou a bi Bii daziigae

Red River College Polytech is in a period of growth, with current demand for innovative programming pushing the limits of its physical infrastructure. To compliment and enhance existing programs, improve its overall competitiveness, and better meet the needs of small to medium enterprises in Winnipeg’s downtown, the college secured funding for Manitou a bi Bii daziigae at its Exchange District Campus.

 RRC Polytech tasked Number TEN Architectural Group in joint venture with Diamond Schmitt Architects Inc. to encourage community connectivity, inclusion and collaboration through the design of the building, while integrating leading edge sustainability, agility and adaptably to enhance innovation, a unique architectural design to showcase innovative learning and teaching, and heritage adaptive reuse sensitive to the neighbourhood.

Manitou a bi Bii daziigae is one of the most advanced and forward-thinking buildings of its kind in Canada. It is designed to LEED Gold and includes an Energy Use Intensity (EUI) target of 100 and a near net zero efficiency, an impressive achievement considering Winnipeg’s extreme prairie climate.

Inspired by its site context, the 100,000 sq. ft. Manitou a bi Bii daziigae is designed to look to the future while respecting the past. The project includes the adaptive re-use of the historically designated Scott Fruit building adjacent to RRC Polytech’s existing Roblin Centre, a state-of-the-art four-storey addition, and an above-ground pedestrian walkway connecting to the Roblin Centre. The skin of the new building addition is comprised of photovoltaic glass that generates energy and changes colour according to weather and the angle in which it is viewed.

Inside, a wide array of unique light-filled programming, circulation and multi-purpose collaboration space is designed to inspire students, create a sense of wonder and encourage idea sharing between students, staff, and industry partners.

The building exterior and interior features prominent art from Anishinaabe artist Jackie Traverse and Cree/British artist KC Adams. The works of art include layers of symbolism of Indigenous culture, history, and ceremony. The name of the building, Manitou a bi Bii daziigae, comes from the Anishinaabemowin (Ojibway) language and translates to “Where the Creator sits / Brings light.” The name connects to both the design and cultural intent of the space, and reflects the hope that the building represents. These works of art and gifts will provide representation and inspiration for Indigenous learners and community members alike.

Manitou a bi Bii daziigae welcomed new students in Fall 2021 and is anticipated to provide an economic boost to downtown Winnipeg and the surrounding Exchange District.

Read more about this project in Canadian Architect.

Client: Red River College Polytechnic
Number TEN’s Role: Architect in joint venture with Diamond Schmitt Architects Inc.
Size: 100,000 sq. ft.
Completion: 2021
Location: Winnipeg, MB


  • Canada Green Building Council’s 2023 New Construction Award in Green Building Excellence - Number TEN alongside Diamond Schmitt Architects 
  • 2023 Brownie Award - REBUILD category
  • 2022 Prairie Design Award of Merit - with Diamond Schmitt Architects