University of Winnipeg | 50 Years Search

Centennial Hall opened


SEPTEMBER 23, 1972: Centennial Hall, started in the 100th anniversary year of Manitoba College’s founding, owes its ingenious modernist design to the firm Moody, Moore, Duncan, Rattray, Peters, Searle, Christie, Architects, Engineers, Planners.  The University administration had been weighing the feasibility of expansion into property surrounding the campus for several years already, and found it undesirable: the new vertically expansive design made creative use of the existing campus space and tied together the existing buildings.  It brought huge amounts of new classroom space, study areas, and most importantly a badly needed new home for the library on the top floors.  The original concept of the building was, for the campus within the city, a city within the campus: with a open expansive interior adaptable to many purposes, a transparent façade of mostly glass, modernist supergraphic art, directional indicators styled like street signs, exposed plumbing and electrical systems, and an integration of indoor and outdoor spaces.  The physical design mirrored the conceptual blueprint of the University itself – accessibility, visibility, and integration with the surrounding community.   Over the next decade the concept of the design was liquidated for enclosed offices and classrooms, the removal of internal design features, and the covering of much of the outer glass, but Centennial Hall still remains second only to Wesley Hall itself as the most distinctive building on campus.

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