April 2016

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A PR IL 2016 | 65 RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY NUMBER TEN ARCHITECTURAL GROUP RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg by ROBIN BRUNET A ny recent visitor to Winnipeg will attest that the city's downtown is enjoying a massive rejuvenation – thanks to over $2 billion invested in new infrastructure, including the $182-million expansion of the RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg, which, since recently reopening, is drawing business from all points of the compass. Design-wise, the LEED Silver RBC Convention Centre is a unique addition to Canada's event inventory. "Exhibitions are usually very internal kind of events held in closed environments," explains Robert Eastwood, senior architect for Number TEN Architectural Group, which, in collaboration with design lead LM Architectural Group and Seattle- based convention centre expert LMN Architects acting as consultants, brought the RBC Convention Centre to life under the leadership of Stuart Olson, who were the design builders. "But our exhibition space features a City View Room over York Avenue that is capped by 50-foot-high and 150-foot-long glass on either end." The expanded facility nearly doubles the original centre's size to a total of 260,000 square feet of rentable space; this includes a 10,000-square-foot lobby; a 24,000-square-foot ballroom on the first floor; the 46,000-square-foot City View Room; and 150,000-square- feet of third floor exhibition space. The original building, which was also designed by Number TEN and LM Architectural Group in 1969, was acknowledged as one of the first purpose-built convention centres in Canada, and the expansion has earned a few distinctions in its own right, being the fourth largest publicly-owned convention centre in Canada – which president and CEO Klaus Lahr says "puts Winnipeg right back in the convention game." Discussions about revamping the original building date back as far as 1998, with Lahr engaging past, present and potential future clients to determine what components were required to make Winnipeg a 21st-century convention destination. "Of the many resolutions that emerged from these talks was the realization we had to double our size," Lahr recalls. LM Architectural Group principal Terry Danelley says his firm "created different design concepts starting in 2000 just to begin the consultative process with the stakeholders – and at that time we came up with the idea of keeping the exhibition space on the third floor contiguous, with a bridge spanning the street." When the project was announced as a design-build undertaking in 2010, the design team ensured that functionality and flexibility were at the core of each design decision. For example, locating trade and consumer shows on the third floor freed the rest of the building to host multiple events simultaneously. In a similar vein, the City View Room can function as exhibition space or alternatively as a premier banquet venue with views overlooking the city – it performed that function when it hosted the Grey Cup dinner on November 28, 2015 for its inaugural event. The old ballroom on the ground floor had 12-foot ceilings and columns that compromised sightlines, so the architects designed the new ballroom as a clearspan space with 20-foot ceilings and the ability to be divided into four separate meeting rooms. "There had been an early revision of the project budget for the addition, from over $200 million to $182 million, so we focused on keeping the ballroom and third floor exhibition space intact and cut back on area elsewhere," says Danelley. The City View Room with its crystal- pattern ceiling is a visual showcase. To expand the convention area, the design- build team bridged an entire city block and extended it south over York Avenue, in essence creating an enormous piece of new building that is a bridge looking east and west. "The room was designed to be about 30 feet to the underside of the trusses, and the trusses are 20-feet deep and 50 feet to the ceiling, basically glazed floor-to-ceiling at the east and west ends for the entire width of the room," says Eastwood. "Movable walls were incorporated into the design to allow the space to become discreet or dynamic, depending on the event." Danelley says of the extensive glazing, "We always conceived of the bridge as fully glazed, and LMN took this idea and developed it to what we see today." Eastwood notes, "In addition to the revised budget, we worked under very fast timelines. In fact, construction began while the drawings LOCATION 375 York Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba OWNER/DEVELOPER RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg ARCHITECTS LM Architectural Group / Number TEN Architectural Group / LMN Architects DESIGN-BUILD CONTRACTOR Stuart Olson STRUCTURAL CONSULTANT Crosier Kilgour & Partners Ltd. STRUCTURAL CONCEPT CONSULTANT Magnusson Klemencic Associates (MKA) MECHANICAL/ ELECTRICAL CONSULTANT SMS Engineering Ltd. LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT HTFC Planning & Design TOTAL SIZE 260,000 square feet (rentable space) TOTAL COST $182 million 11:27 AM

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