Site A narrow, 33-foot-wide lot set amid mid-rise buildings in downtown Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, along William Stephenson Way.

Program A 45,500-square-foot office development with commercial space at street level.

Solution Designed by local firm 5468796 to serve as a landmark on the skyline by day and an illuminated billboard by night, the Bond Tower is an 11-story office building that rises as a thin, black bar between the city center and the Red River. The design addresses a restrictive 33-by-108-foot footprint by stretching skyward with 10 floors of “office condominiums,” commercial spaces close to downtown that can be leased for less than Class A rates. To maximize square footage, the building is flush with the property line. While the main level conforms to setback regulations, the upper stories cantilever 15 feet over the sidewalk on each short end. To introduce light, views, and fresh air, the architects introduced cuts through the structure to create terrace spaces.

The floor plans are rendered unique by the size, orientation, location, and spatial quality of the openings, which incorporate interfloor stairs. While the office interiors will remain each tenant’s private domain, the apertures become occupied spaces for collaboration and interaction, opening up a wealth of possibilities for planned and informal use, which impressed the jury. “The voids are a little derivative of Arquitectonica,” juror Joseph Rosa said, “but in a new, cool way.”

The project’s distinctive narrow shape presents a big structural challenge, by causing a significant wind load on the building and a rotating action on the foundation. The short building width also means that there is inadequate distance to transfer the load reasonably from one side to the other. As a result, a caisson foundation is required.

The tower’s exterior rainscreen consists of cold-rolled steel panels that are installed in such as way as to create a cavity where lights can be installed. The designers spaced the panels apart to allow light to filter out into the environment, creating a glowing grid at night. Rosa, in particular, complimented the project’s artful expression of geometry. “This has beautiful proportions, and I like the scalelessness of it,” he said. Others praised the submission’s compelling analysis and its clarity of urban and architectural expression. “The design is really interesting and innovative—aggressive, even,” juror Cathy Simon said.

Project Credits

Bond Tower, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Developers Mark Penner [Green Seed Development] and Kori Buhler
Architect 5468796, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada—Sharon Ackerman, Mandy Aldcorn, Ken Borton, Jordy Craddock, Aynslee Hurdal, Johanna Hurme, Eva Kiss, Jayne Miles, Colin Neufeld, Zach Pauls, Sasa Radulovic, Shannon Wiebe (project team)
Size 45,500 square feet