The upstart Winnipeg architecture firm 5468796 has done it again.
Recognized for The Cube in Old
Market Square, the firm, known as 546, has won another international award, this one from the
British magazine, Architectural Review. They won for a 10-unit
condominium on Grant Avenue at Niagara called Bloc 10.
were 250 entries world-wide and 546 shared the award for Best Emerging
Architects with entries from Japan, Bangladesh and Spain. Not too shabby
for a bunch who are all grads of the University of Manitoba School of
Rubik's cube type construction of units
Colin Neufeld is the principal architect."I think what's special about
it is what's inside," he says. "What has garnered its awards and
response from the architectural community is the 'puzzle make-up' of the building inside."
Instead of dividing units into conventional blocks, the units fit
together in a fashion resembling a Rubik's cube, or Lego or a Chinese
Other innovations include wooden slats all around that help create privacy and intimacy. All 10 units touch both the front and back of the building (north and south) and eight of them are corner units. Each one is completely unique and first owners design the interior to their own taste.
The building is surrounded by wooden slats (James Brittain)
The structure was initially a plain white box. The developer wanted to build something
simple and cheap and get it on the market. But 546 came up with its unique twist.
What's more, it managed to create this innovative design very economically. Units are affordable for lower to middle incomes.
"That is the contradiction that we are desperately trying to break down," says Neufeld. "That is almost the focus of our office, that is to say design doesn't have to cost. Design doesn't have to be only for an elite group. Good design can actually make something more affordable."
Only one of the 10 units is still available.