Cross-posted from No Mean City, Alex’s personal blog on architecture
I recently wrote a story for the Globe about the Winnipeg architects 5468796 and their Governor General’s Award-winning project, the low-rise condo development Bloc_10. It’s handsome, aesthetically brave – and even more inventive in its form. In fact you can’t really understand it without seeing a Lego-style model (after the jump..)
For a full slideshow of Bloc_10, visit No Mean City.
The building’s 10 multi-level units fit together, as 546′s Ken Borton put it, like “a Chinese puzzle”:
As I wrote in the Globe,
The 10 units are all different in size, shape and configuration, which produces some amazing statistics. Each unit has at at least two levels; each has windows on the north and south sides, and eight boast an east or west exposure as well. Eight of them touch a corner of the building. The layouts are extremely unusual. For instance, one two-bedroom suite starts with a north-facing kitchen, steps up to a second-floor living room on the south side of the building, and then third-floor bedrooms on the north side – and it’s got outdoor decks to the north and south.
The trick is a central spine of nested staircases, running east-west through the building, that link the different levels of each apartment. It’s a difficult design to understand at a glance, but it does use standard building materials and techniques – yet these homes all have qualities of light and space that are extraordinary in an apartment.
Over the past five years 5468796 been building a portfolio of buildings in Winnipeg that are remarkable for their quality – and also for getting built. (Most architects of their age are renovating houses or entering competitions.) Two of 546′s partners are also running Migrating Landscapes, Canada’s show at the Venice Biennale, which I covered here. We’ll hear more from them.
Meanwhile, more pictures at No Mean City.