Mâmawâyâwin: Supporting the Indiginizing of Public Spaces in Winnipeg is located in a vacant lot on Main Street, between Alfred Avenue and Burrows Avenue on Treaty 1 Territory. As a part of the CBDX: Cities for All International Design Ideas Competition, our design intent is to support the engagement with the Indigenous community in Winnipeg’s North End. To do so, we have proposed public programming for smudging, oral storytelling and performance, a kitchen and corner store, a garden for ceremonial and sacred plants, public use washrooms, and a recreation area.
The North End of Winnipeg is largely populated by visible minority groups, with a large number of this population being made up of Indigenous and Metis peoples. The neighbourhood is bordered by the Red River and the Canadian Pacific Railway on the south, which has maintained its distinct boundaries from the rest of the city. As settlers, we recognize our responsibility to support the decolonizing of the prevailing design discourse. Therefore, the intent of the project is to promote culturally inclusive and responsive architecture in our public spaces. The design we have proposed is mindful of the Indigenous community and the cultural needs that have been insufficiently addressed through urban and architectural design. As a result, the project responds to the challenges of climate change by considering the construction, operation, demolition and waste treatment through environmentally mindful material choices. Furthermore, the concrete and gravel of the existing vacant site has been revitalized through the addition of vegetation and prairie grass. We specifically chose a building typology that enhances the aforementioned activities, while providing the potential for future adaptive reuse. While keeping in mind the need for social distances practices, the project promotes a place to congregate in large and flexible indoor and outdoor spaces.