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University Center Manitoba

Winnipeg, Canada
1 of 5

University Centre is a five-storey poured and pre-cast concrete structure constructed as part of a campus planning strategy that aimed to develop the campus as an urban centre. Overground facilities include dining space, offices and conference rooms, while the lounges, cafeteria, bookstore and open spaces for gathering were located below grade. University Centre serves as the central meeting point for all of the campus tunnels, culminating in a two-storey multifunctional space referred to as a "campo".

A very simplistic reading of such recurrent trope can just assume that as the majority of courses take place between September and May, when winter is the hardest, it is logical that indoor spaces are more important and more frequented than the lawns, courtyards, quadrants and gardens of universities in milder climates. Covered plazas, multi-storeys lobbies, expanded circulations, sky-lit concourses and indoor streets were part of an arsenal of architectural and typological tools mobilized by designers so as to accompany the surge of a new middle class of educated professionals, and to interiorize a strong idea of the "urban" inside the life of students. Such generosity was especially striking if compared to the tiny and cramped spaces of classrooms, laboratories, libraries and administrative offices of the university buildings from the first half of the XX century, often devoid of any places for informal exchange.

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bostjan, October 18th, 2019
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