National Urban Design Awards - 2022 Recipient - Urban Architecture | Royal Architectural Institute of Canada

National Urban Design Awards - 2022 Recipient - Urban Architecture

True North Square
Award Category: 
Urban Architecture

Lead Firm: Perkins&Will
Completion Date: June 2019

Capturing the unique spirit of Winnipeg, True North Square addresses its location with a climate-responsive design for a community-focused development. Creating towers of modest height responding to a central public square, the project prioritizes the pedestrian and seeks to repair the long-neglected fabric in which it is located. Product of a national competition, the project is active year-round, specifically focusing on transforming the character and lifestyle of the downtown. The ambitious public realm provides a myriad of amenities and open space to create a vibrant, 24/7, urban experience. The pedestrian-centric design also provides improved access to public transit and encourages active transportation.

Project Credits:

Client - True North Development
Architect - Perkins&Will
Urban Design & Landscape Architecture - PFS Studio
Specialist Consultant - Architecture 49 (Associate Architect)
Structural Engineer - Entuitive
Mechanical Engineer - AME
Electrical Engineer - WSP
General Contractor - PCL Construction


Jury Comment(s): 

“The True North Development provides a strong public-domain focused architecture that specifically responds to the Winnipeg climate/environment, encouraging year-round civic animation. The sensitive architectural orientation and forms, multi-level public spaces, playful materiality, and sustainable energy strategies contribute to a comprehensive urban architectural solution."

"This project is compatible within its urban context and demonstrates architectural excellence. It portrays exceptional public realm design. The building design, form and placement incorporate wind and sun shadow studies. The public spaces are well designed and flow seamlessly from outdoor to indoor."

"This project was recognized for its capacity to contribute to the broader public domain through its skillful formal, performative, and programmatic solutions.  The urban gesture deforms to create a well-defined public space that acts as a micro-climate in a winter city. The street experience is well supported with active edges, public program and urban armature that catalyzes both large-scale events as well as informal gatherings. Of particular note is the quality of the section within the public domain that facilitates urban connectivity and animation.”

Jury members 

Click for full version: 
Sinuous curves

PHOTO - Gerry Kopelow

Arc geometry

PHOTO - Andrew Latreille

The towers

PHOTO - Andrew Letreille

Public plaza with towers

PHOTO - Andrew Latreille

Plaza at night

PHOTO - Andrew Latreille

Public gathering

PHOTO - True North Developments