Winnipeg Architecture Foundation

Places

Buildings

Aboriginal Peoples Television Network

Formerly:NEFCO Furniture Building, Northside Centre
Address:339 Portage Avenue
Use:Aboriginal Peoples Television Network
Original Use:Retail Furniture Outlet
Constructed:1960-1961
Other Work:1978, 1986, 1990, Exterior renovations
1979, Beauty salon interior
1979, Leo's Home Bakery
1979, Fuji Builders for Sword and Stone Ltd.
1992, 1998, 1999, Interior renovations
Architects:Blankstein Coop Gillmor and Hanna
Firms:Blankstein Coop Gillmor and Hanna,
Engineers:Crosier and Greenberg
Contractors:Drake Construction Co. Ltd.

More Information

Set off beautifully as the east border of Window Park in front of the Air Canada Building on north Portage, this large six-storey reinforced concrete structure saves its best face for the park side. Designed by Blankstein Coop Gillmor and Hanna for the NEFCO Furniture Company in 1960, its west elevation alternates straightforward horizontal bands of windows with blue panels and pale framing walls in modernist proportions. It fronts on Portage with a glass canopied entrance and rises starkly in concrete walls scored vertically to more windows on the top floor. Consulting structural engineers Grossier and Greenburg developed an economical framing technique of concrete floors with exposed ribs that precluded the need for a dropped ceiling inside while giving the support needed for heavy loading .

Following a run of three generations, the North End Furniture Company (NEFCO) evolved into Penthouse Furniture and vacated the building on Portage, since 1999 the home of Aboriginal Peoples Television Network.

Design Characteristics

  • Plan area: 5,655 sq. ft. (525.35 sq. m)
  • Gross floor area: 39,585 sq. ft. (3,6777.45 sq. m)
  •  
  • Fires are known to have occurred in this building in March 1965 and June 1974
  • Six storeys plus basement constructed of reinforced concrete frame on a reinforced concrete foundation
  • Concrete floors, brick on concrete block walls
  • Notable modern elements include the expansive use of glass along the west facade of the building and the vertical geometricdetailing on the south street-facing facade
  • Extensive alterations to the exterior have altered the original aesthetic of the building

Sources

  • "Building facelift planned," Winnipeg Free Press, May 2, 1986, p.3.
  • "Current Commercial Construction," Greater Winnipeg Industrial Topics, 20, 9, p.10.
  • Paul Rodgers, "Air Canada Gets Blind-sided," Winnipeg Sun, May 6, 1986, p.4.
  • "6-Storey Building Costs $375,000," Western Construction and Building, 13, 6 (June 1961), p. 21.
  • Winnipeg Tribune Subject Clipping Research Files, Microfilm Roll #99, file on "Northside Centre 1978."

Locations of Supporting Information

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