Winnipeg Architecture Foundation

Places

Buildings

1075 Portage Avenue

Formerly:Manitoba Power Commission Building
Address:1075 Portage Avenue
Constructed:1955
Architects:Green Blankstein Russell
Firms:Green Blankstein Russell
Contractors:Peter Leitch Construction Limited

More Information

The Manitoba Power Commission was created in 1916 by the provincial government in order to aid in bringing electric power to municipalities located outside of Winnipeg. In 1961 the Manitoba Power Commission was merged with the Manitoba Hydro-Electic Board to become Manitoba Hydro.

The design scheme here strongly resembles that employed in Green Blankstein Russell's 1953 winning entry in the competition for the design of Canada's National Gallery in Ottawa. The latter scheme has been seen as comparable to the work of the German-American architect Mies van der Rohe, who had taught at the Illinois Institute of Technology while two young Green Blankstein Russell architects were studying at that school, Morley Blankstein and Isadore Coop. Here the modernist aesthetic suited an institution which had as one of its central aims the electrification of the province. This approach is demonstrated in the clear exterior exposition of the components of construction, including the bare concrete vertical post and horizontal beams visible on all the building's facades. These spaces enclose bays made up of large glazed sections and areas of buff brick. Original estimates pegged the cost of this building at $680,000.

Design Characteristics

  • Clear exposition of structure
  • Large glazed sections
  • Buff brick in-fill

Sources

  • Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Journal 32 (May 1955): 171-173.