Contest to change U of M’s campus landscape

The official launch of the Visionary (re)Generation Open International Design Competition commences Dec. 5. Competitors are able to register for the competition on this date and the winner will decide the landscape of the future U of M Campus.

As shown in a 2011 report from the City of Winnipeg, the Southwood Lands is considered a major transformative area.

The goal of the competition is to attract top urban planners from around the world to re-design the university campus which will include the newly acquired Southwood Lands (former Southwood Golf Course).

The goal of the campus re-design is to create “a thriving, connected community where a conversation at a small café gives life to the next big idea. A walkable, truly urban neighbourhood where a culture of learning and discovery powers the innovation that turns a campus into a destination,” said the U of M’s website dedicated to the competition.

Design objectives for those entering the competition are based around the pillars of connection, destination, sustainability, community, and transformability.

The connection pillar is designed to connect the city and the campus by creating an environment available to all ages. This includes new economically-friendly buildings and a winter-friendly landscape environment. Rapid transit bus routes are designed to get people in and out of the campus at a faster pace.

The destination pillar on the other hand is designed to have the university as a place that people find a reason to visit as well as a reason to stay on the campus. The goal is to create a welcoming environment through a diversity of services available.

The sustainability pillar views the campus with an ecological, social, and economic eye. The goal is a living lab which is a constant source of innovation and research.

The community aspect aims to bring in a diversity of people for communication and a stimulating environment. The goal is for people to have a place to network, facilitating the innovation for the campus.

The last pillar, transformative, intends to make the campus experience a memorable one, bringing in new students as well as offering them a place to stay. The goal is for the U of M to be recognized as leading innovative environmental design.

The competition consists of three phases. The first includes collecting ideas in order to structure the outline of the competition in terms of what stakeholders want. The second phase is the actual competition, launching in January 2013, and projected to finish in October of the same year, with an award ceremony for the Area Master Plan. The third phase is more of a continual phase including a contract award that works with the winning design team to put the plans in action.

The whole process is being overseen by Benjamin Hossbach, the founder and managing director of Phase Eins, a project consultant and design competition organizing company involved in the competition fruition. The company is Berlin-based and is renowned for its successful completion of global projects. They have been involved in sustainable development projects in the Netherlands, South Africa, Germany, Morocco, the Ukraine, Libya, and the United Arab Emirates.

The jury was announced on Nov. 9 by U of M’s President Dr. David Barnard who will also be one of the ten jurors.

“Visionary (re)Generation represents opportunity and potential. We are being given an opportunity to think differently about the university community where we live, work, study, and discover,” said Barnard.

The jurors will consist of two categorized groups: technical and general. The technical jurists were chosen for their expertise and experience in planning and design while the general jurists are considered stakeholders who have a vested interest in either community or university.

A support team of deputy jurors, technical experts, and guests will also be involved to further help the decision of the jury.

One of the main partners of the project is Manitoba Hydro. President and CEO Scott Thomson stated that the company is very proud to be involved in such a project happening in Winnipeg.

“Manitoba Hydro is pleased to be part of this process as part of the design jury. We expect our technical expertise in cold climate energy management can contribute to achieving the dream,” said Thomson.