The project was designed to provide a unique variety of luxury suite layouts while maximizing saleable square footage. Although zoning regulations initially limited the steel and hollow core structure to five storeys, by introducing mezzanines on two levels the project’s saleable area was increased substantially while still conforming to the maximum allowable building height. In addition, the precise interlocking of a variety of one and two bedroom unit types – including one storey flats, two storey lofts and townhouses as well as upper level penthouses – served to reduce corridor areas and provide variety for potential buyers. Compared to a conventionally planned development, the OZ configuration significantly increases density efficiency and thus profit potential for the developer, with square foot construction costs 20% below industry standard. The square footage gained from compact planning allowed for the creation of horizontal courtyards off the mezzanines that punch through the building and provide large exterior decks with expansive vistas for loft units.
OZ is a 25 unit, high-end condominium development located in the heart of Osborne Village, the densest and most walkable urban district in Winnipeg. Situated on the south side of the Assiniboine River, the area boasts a thriving main street and tree-lined residential avenues rich with culture and heritage. Despite the vibrancy of daily life in the neighbourhood, recent architectural offerings are characterized by a safe and decidedly suburban aesthetic. In this environment, the stark contrast of colour and materiality sets OZ apart as a building that is overtly contemporary, with unconventional massing, unique suite layouts and dramatic cut-through balconies that are unlike anything else in the city. Located on an L-shaped site, OZ is conceived as two towers linked by a minimal glass entry and a shared elevator core. The first tower fronts on River Avenue, taking advantage of high traffic volumes with ground level townhouses that can accommodate small businesses. The second tower incorporate a two level, 31 stall over/under parking garage that connects with the back lane. The structured parking fits the 60’ x 80’ building footprint above, providing an effective heated indoor parking solution while minimizing circulation, excavation and associated shoring.
Each tower is wrapped in a cohesive skin of black metal cladding that is carved into and punctured through to introduce outdoor space, provide shelter for ground floor entrances, reduce the building’s shadow impact and respect setback restrictions. Breaking up the building mass in this way makes the project more human-scaled, with the glass core and balcony cut outs further eroding the structure’s monolithic nature. The deeply fluted corrugated metal skin consists of a gradient of solid and perforated panels that create a subtle play of light across the façade. The perforations carry over windows that open into rooms where more privacy is desirable, providing filtered views out through a protective screen. Every component that is recessed behind or cut through the skin is rendered in white, further reducing the project’s visual weight and reflecting daylight into the building’s void spaces. On the north façade, a reflective metal cowling frames a single floor to ceiling window that captures an impressive view of the river and the Manitoba Legislative Building beyond.