Architect Wins Bridgman says future uses for the building have to deal with the Hudson's Bay Company's colonial history, including the fact 'its money came from slavery … [and] from the poor treatment and genocide of Indigenous people.' (CBC)
The principal architect at BridgmanCollaborative Architecture has been mulling over what to do about the robust concrete building in recent years. "So what do we do with it? We do not tear it down," he said. "The debate about the Hudson's Bay Company building in Winnipeg is actually a debate about how we understand our city." [Excerpt from "What to do with the Bay? Experts share visions for historic downtown Winnipeg space," by Bryce Hoye, CBC News]
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Do we celebrate heritage best with unlikely partnerships? Here's a small case study of the Barber House in North Point Douglas, Winnipeg to explore that question. (This presentation was given at the Manitoba Heritage Summit held October 1, 2020 in Winnipeg.)
Heritage buildings embody energy, history, and meaning. Significance develops over time and can be interpreted contextually, culturally, and socially. Barber House is an example of a modest heritage structure that has existed for nearly 150 years in the Point Douglas neighbourhood in Winnipeg. The Red River frame construction remains robust in spite of three fires in the building. Thistle Cottage, as it was once known, was built by Lorenzo Barber in 1862. The house is a reminder of early Red River pioneer settlement in the area. Vacant since 1974, the house came to signify disinvestment and neglect. But for many who have advocated passionately for the building over the years, Barber House symbolizes resilience, strength, and survival. The house now provides an accessible community room for seniors and visitors to the area. Neighbourhood history and artefacts are on display. The Barber House project was made possible by efforts of advocates, and generosity of funders at all three levels of government. Barber House is the second phase of community economic development at the 99 Euclid site, which also includes a daycare and the first phase of a community room (see Eagle Wing Early Education Centre).
BridgmanCollaborative's CO-LAB blog shares our passion for architecture, design and urban issues. What makes a good city? We ask careful questions, we listen, we work for change.