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Winnipeg Free Press

Murray McNeill
April 19, 2014 | Online

Unique kiosk gets national recognition

A University of Winnipeg bicycle-repair kiosk made from recycled steel shipping containers is the latest downtown facility to win a national architecture award.

The U of W bikeLAB, as it's called, and the Winnipeg architecture firm that designed it -- Peter Sampson Architecture Studio Inc. -- have been awarded a 2014 National Urban Design Award by RAIC/Architecture Canada, the Canadian Institute of Planners and the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects.

The Urban Design Awards program recognizes individuals, organizations, firms and projects that have contributed to the quality of life in Canadian cities and to their sustainability.

The community-focused bike-repair kiosk was made from two decommissioned shipping containers once used by an Italian shipping company. It was designed so it can easily be dismantled and moved if needed.

The bikeLAB recognition comes three weeks after Manitoba Hydro's super-energy-efficient downtown office tower won two more architecture awards -- a Design Excellence Award and a Sustainable Design Excellence Award from the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA).

The design architect on the Hydro project was Toronto's KPMB Architects, although the executive architect and advocate architect were Winnipeg firms -- Smith Carter Architects & Engineers Inc. and Prairie Architects Inc.
The OAA awards are the latest in a growing list of national and international awards Manitoba Hydro Place has garnered since it opened in December 2008.

KPMB partner Bruce Kuwabara said winning an OAA design award is a notable achievement because of the strength of the competition. The 15 award winners were chosen from more than 170 submissions.

Kuwabara said in a recent interview it was only fitting Manitoba Hydro Place received both a design award and a sustainable-design award. Not only is it striking in appearance and design, it's also remarkably energy-efficient, using less than half the energy required to run a conventional office tower of comparable size.

"And it's doing it in a climate where it gets to minus -30 and to 30 C," Kuwabara added.

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