Winnipeg Architecture Foundation

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Buildings

77 D’arcy Drive

Address:77 D'Arcy Drive
Original Use:Dwelling
Constructed:1972
Architects:Jacques Collin
Contractors:Fuji Builders

More Information

This modernist home, with a distinctive and simple stucco facade, was designed by the French-born and trained architect Jacques Collin.

In 1964 Collin emigrated to Winnipeg to work as a professor at the University of Manitoba Faculty of Architecture. Collin conceived the home as a residence for he and his wife. Belying a largely sparse exterior, the home's interior is comprised of a complicated design, and the building is topped by triangular skylights. This structure also was originally designed to house a pool and other recreation spaces, on the building's west side. The architectural firm that designed the planned grotto next to the pool also designed the Milwaukee County Zoo. The plan was to replicate in the city the features that drove many Winnipeggers to cottages during the summer months. The original design was two-feet too tall to comply with city bylaws. In response, the house had to be altered mid way through construction.

The interior took the idea of an open floor plan to new heights, with only one door in the entire house (the bathroom). Supposedly, this made completing the interior finishes a challenge, as no door separated the sleeping Collins from the workers. One advantage to the open floor plan was that it could be converted into rental units. The Collins attempted to convert their home into rental units, only to be stopped yet again by city bylaws.

The neighbourhood of Agassiz Park (also known as University Heights, College Heights and the University Crescent Subdivision) was originally part of the Rural Municipality of Fort Garry. In 1972 it was amalgamated into Winnipeg as part of the broader effort to expand the city through the consolidation of previously outlying municipalities.

This small subdivision is bound by Bishop Grandin Boulevard to the south, University Crescent to the west, the Red River to the east and the former Southwood Golf and Country Club to the north.

Agassiz Park includes approximately 200 homes, predominantly bungalows, constructed in the early 1960s. Many of the homes were built by Elias Construction Ltd., a Winnipeg-based company also responsible for the nearby Clarence Avenue subdivision in Fort Garry. The display homes had five separate floor plans; a Winnipeg Free Press advertisement, with an illustration of the neighbourhood model home located at 24 Glengarry Drive, stated: "pick the home you've wanted from a wide variety of proven floor plates. A house designed for convenience and gracious living is an investment in the future.” (9 September 1961)

Instead of back lanes, the residential lots have front drive access, each extending to one of five gently curving streets oriented around a centrally located elementary school. The vehicle-oriented subdivision has no sidewalks and is accessed via two entrances extending off of University Crescent. Green space within the neighbourhood includes the Bishop Grandin Greenway and Glengarry Park, a narrow band of public land that separates the river-facing homes on D'arcy Drive from the Red River.

Design Characteristics

Doors:The main entryway is located at the front of the house, raised three steps above grade.
Roof:Flat roof
Size:4,864 square feet
Style:Split level
Suburb:Agassiz Park, University Heights
Garage:Attached double carport
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