Winnipeg Architecture Foundation

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Royal Bank Building

Address:220 Portage Avenue
Use:Royal Bank branch and offices
Original Use:Office Building
Constructed:1965-66
Other Work:1966, 1967, Alteration of office building
1980, 1981, 1986, 1989, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1999, Interior renovations
Architects:Smith Carter Searle Associates, Moody Moore and Partners
Engineers:W. H. Milley
Contractors:Poole Construction Limited
Kildare Construction, PCL Construction, CIC Incorporated (renovations)

More Information

Designed by Smith Carter Searle Associates in association with Moody Moore Whenham & Partners, 220 Portage Avenue was constructed between 1965 and 1966. Originally built for use by the Royal Bank of Canada, the structure is still in use by the bank.

The first two floors made up the branch while the upper floors were designed as office space. The floors, counters, and walls surround the three elevators were made of marble and throughout the banking space as well as the elevator doors were made of stainless steel. The elevators were strategically placed in the centre of the building so that the windows on all walls could offer a panoramic view of Winnipeg. The elevator lobbies were each carpeted and had walls made of mat ceramic tiles. Along with the elevators there were escalators that were also implemented between the main and second level, allowing for access between the two levels of the branch. These escalators were also connected to Winnipeg’s underground walkway system allowing for even more customer access. The interior of the branch was decorated with thirty works of contemporary art, all but three were made by Manitoban artists.

Design Characteristics

Developer:Oxford Leaseholds Ltd.
  • Plan area: 17,820 square feet (1,655.48 square metres)
  • Gross floor area: 226,923 square feet (21,081.15 square metre)
  • Built with a structural concrete frame with walls of brick and concrete block faced by precast concrete window panels, the exterior features a base of polished granite, and exposed quartz aggregate (Mo-Sai) arches Notably, the arches were constructed by Supercrete Winnipeg who also manufactured the white pre-cast concrete window units, used for the first time in a major Manitoba construction project

Sources

  • "Architectural Millwork Demand Growing – Trend is to Wood Walls and Ceilings." Western Construction and Building 19 11 (November 1967): 27-31.
  • "Bank Building Dominates District." Western Construction and Building 18 5 (May 1966): 23-25.
  • Caine, F.J. "New Building Symbolizes Growth of Royal Bank Throughout Manitoba." Manitoba Business Journal 1 3 (December/January 1964-1965): 13.
  • "Further Modernization for Winnipeg's Downtown Hub." Western Construction and Building 16 2 (February 1964): 17.
  • Doug Jansen, "New Beat for an Old City Core," Manitoba Business Journal 4 6 (June/July 1968): 43-44.
  • McGarry, Michael. "A visiting architect looks at Winnipeg." Winnipeg Tribune. 26 January 1966.
  • "New landmark will add to our city's skyline." Winnipeg Tribune. 15 February 1964. 1, 22.
  • "16-Storey Office Tower – New Home for Royal Bank." Manitoba Business Journal 1 3 (December/January 1964-1965): 10-11.
  • "Tallest office building starts." Winnipeg Tribune. 13 November 1964.
  • Western Construction and Building 17 7 (August 1965): 7.

Locations of Supporting Information

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

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