March 2021

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M A R C H 2 0 2 1 | 71 Richardson Innovation Centre P H OTO G R A P H Y BY S TAT I O N P O I N T P H OTO G R A P H I C /CO U RT E SY R I C H A R DS O N I N T ER N AT I O N A L RICHARDSON INNOVATION CENTRE by ROBIN BRUNET W innipeg-based Richardson International is Canada's largest agribusiness and a global leader in agriculture and food processing. So when it came time to create a product development and quality testing centre close to head office, the building had to be "Visually noteworthy and world class, a place that speaks to who we are as an orga- nization and reflects our personality; a space we are proud to bring our customers, suppliers, partners, and employees to," says Kelcey Vossen, Richardson's communications and public relations manager. The result is the Richardson Innovation Centre, a 62,000-square- foot building located in Winnipeg's historic Exchange District on a site that was once a surface parking lot. With its dramatic angular form of transparent glass and contrasting Tyndall stone, the four-storey centre interacts with the heritage Exchange structures, while being distinctive in its own right. The building's orientation and stra- tegic use of glass floods the interior spaces with natural light. A feature staircase in the large glass atrium establishes direct connections to each floor and different functional areas, and it's set against a full-height wood feature wall (which is an artistic rep- resentation of a DNA barcode). Vossen notes that work on the project a few years before construc- tion, and Number TEN Architectural Group was selected not only due to its expertise (it had undertaken studies for a redevelopment of Richardson's plaza in downtown Winnipeg), but also because it is a reputable, local business. "There is incredible local talent and capability right here in Winnipeg and we were pleased to partner with Manitoba-based com- panies to create a state-of-the-art building for both our people and cus- tomers," she explains. After assisting in a multi-year fea- sibility study, Bockstael Construction was engaged as the design-builder to manage both the design and construc- tion phases of the project. Brent Bellamy, an associate at Number TEN, credits Richardson "for working closely with us on planning and design. Our biggest challenge was to create a forward-thinking expres- sion and yet fit in with the grand old Exchange buildings. We initially pro- posed a three-storey structure, but the massing and shape didn't feel right. So we transformed the third floor into two half floors and placed them on the north end. This four-storey height relates well with the proportions of the neighbouring historic build- ings. To articulate the massing, these two upper levels are predominantly glazing, with a white ceramic fritted coating to reduce glare and heat gain into the offices for increased comfort and energy efficiency. "The Tyndall stone on the bottom two floors also relates to the nearby historic structures and is comprised of flat, sawcut Tyndall and random panels of rich, deep coloured, natural Tyndall with a jagged face protruding a few inches to catch the sun and create amazing shadows across the building envelope. We also used punched, deep set windows to create a sense of heavi- ness and mass. And because the upper two floors cantilever outward, they appear as a light box teetering over: a very dramatic effect." Bellamy admits to being ner- vous about presenting this design to Richardson president and CEO Curt Vossen. "My colleagues told me it wouldn't be accepted, but Curt looked at the drawings and understood the vision, saying instantly, 'This is the way it has to be,'" he recalls. As for the intent of the atrium (which had been endorsed by Richardson early on), Bellamy says, "We designed it as the centre of a pinwheel that would create the oppor- tunity for chance meetings and the cross pollination of ideas; the exact opposite of a traditional lab where everyone is segregated." In a similar vein, the test kitchen became a show- case presentation zone that also acts as the front porch of the building, "as a place where researchers will interact with clients." Bellamy says Richardson "encour- aged us to add people places on the site, so we incorporated seating on the streetside along the length of the building, and a small park with trees and landscaping on the front side." Bockstael worked closely with Number TEN and led the project plan- ning under the Target Value Delivery model, with set targets for cost, sched- ule, program, and quality. Mechanical and electrical design-build trades were procured through a competitive RFP process, and intensive design- assist was also implemented on structural and glazing systems. Construction, which began in 2018, was conducted without incident, but Bockstael project manager Erik Miller notes, "A challenge arose when we got occupancy and food processing equip- ment from Europe shipped to us. It was supposed to be followed by the man- ufacturing representatives, but the onset of the pandemic prevented them from flying to Canada. So, through a series of virtual meetings, they guided us through the proper installation and commissioning procedures." Kelcey Vossen says of the completed facility: "Various groups have moved in and we look forward to showcasing our products and capabilities at this cen- tre. I can confidently say, we couldn't be happier with the final outcome." Bellamy adds, "This is the sort of project you dream of while in archi- tecture school. Everything Bockstael built was the way we envisioned it, and kudos to Richardson for allowing us to flex our creative muscles." A LOCATION 77 Westbrook Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba OWNER /DEVELOPER Richardson International ARCHITECT/INTERIOR DESIGNER Number TEN Architectural Group DESIGN BUILD CONTR ACTOR Bockstael Construction STRUCTUR AL CONSULTANT Crosier Kilgour & Partners Ltd. MECHANICAL /ELECTRICAL CONSULTANT SMS Engineering CIVIL ENGINEER WSP L ANDSCAPE ARCHITECT HTFC Planning and Design CODE CONSULTANT RJ Bartlett TOTAL SIZE 63,000 square feet TOTAL COST $27 million

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