Winnipeg Architecture Foundation

Places

Buildings

Kensington Building Limited

Address:275 Portage Avenue
Use:Offices
Original Use:Offices
Constructed:1973-74
Other Work:1992 and 1993, interior alterations
Architects:Jack Ross
Contractors:Bird Construction

More Information

275 Portage Avenue (known as the Kensington Block) was constructed between 1973 and 1974, based on a design by architect Jack M. Ross. The structure replaced a previously existing building built in 1905, and destroyed by fire.

Faced with the problem of designing such a tall building on such a small lot, Jack M. Ross approached the city to seek permission for an encroachment on the Smith Street side, meaning that the building’s second level would expand over the traditional property line, creating an overhang for the pedestrian sidewalk. Fairly innovative in Winnipeg for the period, the encroachment technique allowed Ross to accommodate an increased floor plate on upper levels. 275 Portage Avenue is an unusual high-rise building for Winnipeg, as it maximises its’ very narrow lot.

Design Characteristics

  • Plan area: 4,460 square feet (414.33 square metres)
  • Gross floor area: 117,165 square feet (10,884.63 square metres)
  • The eighteen storey structure was built with a reinforced concrete frame to accommodate the inclusion of an impressive glass curtain wall
  • 45,000 square feet of Vari-tran silver glass wall wraps the building on two sides and was marketed to greatly reduce the sun’s heat and glare. Given the reflective nature of the material, the facade produces a unique mirror effect showcasing the incredible diversity of architectural styles in the surrounding buildings

Sources

  • "Centre waves Maple Leaf," Winnipeg Free Press, August 31, 1998, p. A9.
  • "Downtown Office Building," Winnipeg Development News (August 1973), p. 1 published in Winnipeg Industrial Topics, 33, 4 (August 1973).
  • "Mirror Effect for New Building," Winnipeg Free Press, November 17, 1973.
  • "New Kensingtion Building," Winnipeg Development News (December 1973), p. 2, published in Winnipeg Industrial Topics, 33, 6 (December 1973).
  • "Office tower approved," Winnipeg Tribune, June 12, 1973.
  • "Pilkington Glass Limited," Winnipeg Industrial Topics, 37, 2 (May 1977), p. 5.
  • "Slim tower innovates - fire damaged landmark replaced by highrise," Journal of Commerce, January 13, 1975, p. 3.

Locations of Supporting Information

  • City of Winnipeg Archives
  • University of Manitoba Libraries, Department of Special Collections and Archives, Winnipeg Tribune Subject Clipping Research Files