Winnipeg Architecture Foundation

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Architects

George Cibinel

  • MAA, OAA

Biography

In 1993, George Cibinel partnered with fellow architect Doug Corbett to establish the firm of Corbett Cibinel Architects Limited. The new firm quickly found work, largely with small renovations, residential and care home projects. By the late 1990s the office was gaining larger assignments, including the Franco-Manitoban Heritage Centre (340 Provencher Boulevard, 1998; also known as the Centre du Patrimoine). The innovative design for this addition – which involved a lobby space and library – combined a generally contemporary plan with the incorporation of segments of the historic Empire Hotel (Cauchon Block) in the reception area. This gesture, which brings together social and functional goals, speaks to Cibinel’s view of architecture as pubic art. The partnership gained greater attention for their extensive and remarkable work creating a new location for Red River College (160 Princess Street, 2003). This building – or ensemble of buildings – entailed the restoration of a row of extant landmark structures and the fashioning of an impressive spine-like atrium behind them; the project is typified by the sharp differentiation between old and new sections, while – as at the Centre du Patrimoine – demonstrating a forceful respect for past construction.

Another notable work of this period is the Environmental Safety Building, (University of Manitoba, 2005) wherein a delicate combination of limestone and metal, the latter largely found in a strikingly angled roof, create an exciting composition out of what might have otherwise been a simple functional structure for the movement of waste materials. Similarly, the office made use of such details as clerestory windows and extensive natural lighting to elevate the straightforward Eastman Education Centre (Steinbach, Manitoba, 2006).

In 2006, George Cibinel became the operating partner of Corbett Cibinel Architects Limited and as of 1 April 2008 the practice took the name of Cibinel Architects Limited. The firm, however, maintained continuity in its interest in projects which integrate the new and the historic. An example of this is the Assiniboine Community College Culinary Arts building (Assiniboine College, Brandon, Manitoba, 2007), an assignment which commenced with the restoration and redesign of an early twentieth century building and proceeded to add an unmistakably and remarkably contemporary metal and glass area containing a teaching kitchen. Also remarkable is the firm’s H2Office project (150 Innovation Drive, 2010). This notable design features a sleek, single-storey office block set atop a retention pond, held aloft by slender columns; the plan won the office a Prairie Design Award of Excellence and a National Design Exchange Award Honourable Mention. Another significant design from this phase is the modern but homey Centre Place Manitoba Olympic Pavilion (Vancouver, 2010), a temporary structure intended to manifest the energy of Manitoba and to communicate the province’s role as a centre for culture and trade – particularly that which involves environmental sustainability. To that end the prefabricated building – which made extensive use of translucent panels – was partially constructed from one hundred elm trees previously felled in the province’s capitol to prevent the spread of Dutch elm disease.

In November of 2012 it was announced that Cibinel Architects Limited – which maintains offices at 420-A Stradbrook Avenue – would serve as Associate and Technical Architect for the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s Inuit Art and Learning Centre, with Micheal Maltzan selected to design the facility.

Projects

  • Franco-Manitoban Heritage Centre (Centre du Patrimoine), 340 Provencher Boulevard, 1998
  • Red River College, 160 Princess Street, 2003
  • Portage and Main redesign, 2004
  • Aboriginal Student Centre, University of Winnipeg, 2005
  • Environmental Safety Building, University of Manitoba, 2005
  • Assiniboine Community College Culinary Arts building, Assiniboine College, Brandon, Manitoba, 2007
  • Apotex Centre, University of Manitoba, McDermot Avenue, 2008
  • Cercle Moliere, Provencher Boulevard, 2009
  • Centre Place Manitoba Olympic Pavilion (temporary), Vancouver, 2010
  • Eastman Education Centre, Steinbach, Manitoba, 2006
  • H2Office, 150 Innovation Drive, 2010
  • Brandon Firehall, Brandon, Manitoba, 2010
  • Active Living Centre, with Batteriid Architects (Iceland), University of Manitoba, 2014

Sources

  • Cibinel, George. “The Art of Architecture: Believing in Something.” Ecclectica. Brandon: Brandon University: 2002.