WAG Announces International Short List of Architectural Teams for Inuit Art and Learning Centre

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, September 14, 2012: The Winnipeg Art Gallery has selected six architectural teams to be shortlisted for the design of its new Inuit Art and Learning Centre (IALC). The Centre will house the WAG’s celebrated collection of contemporary Inuit art, the largest of its kind in the world, and the Studio Art and Learning programs.

The six teams are: Will Bruder Architects and Peter Sampson Architecture Studio (Phoenix and Winnipeg); Diller Scofidio + Renfro (New York); Kengo Kuma and Associates (Tokyo); Michael Maltzan Architecture (Los Angeles); Patkau Architects/LM Architectural Group (Vancouver and Winnipeg); Preston Scott Cohen Inc. with number TEN architectural group (Boston and Winnipeg).

The announcement follows the meeting of the national Selection Committee chaired by George Baird, founding partner, Baird Sampson Neuert Architects. Other members of the Committee include Stephen Borys, Executive Director, WAG; Herbert Enns, Director, Experimental Media Research Group, Professor of Architecture, University of Manitoba, and Director, Cisco Innovation Centre for Collaborative Technologies, University of Winnipeg; Naomi Levine, lawyer and President, WAG Board of Governors; Brigitte Shim, Principal, Shim-Sutcliffe Architects, Inc., Toronto; Richard Yaffe, Partner, Aikins, MacAulay & Thorvaldson, LLP, and Chair, WAG Foundation; and Mirko Zardini, Executive Director and Chief Curator, Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal.

“We were very impressed by the wealth of responses from around the world to the call for expressions of interest,” states Stephen Borys, WAG Executive Director, who led the initiative to develop the architect selection process. “With such a large number of outstanding submissions – from fifteen countries – it was a challenging task to establish a short list. However, in the end, the committee reached a consensus on a final group of six, and I am confident that the teams selected will produce some extraordinary designs. I am grateful to George Baird and the entire committee for their excellent counsel and commitment to this important project.”

The finalists have been asked to prepare expanded proposals to undertake the design of the IALC, and these proposals will be presented in person at meetings with the Selection Committee in Winnipeg in October. The WAG plans to announce the winning team for the design of the IALC in late October.

George Baird, chair of the Selection Committee and architectural advisor to the WAG Executive Director, notes: “The Winnipeg Art Gallery received the unusually high number of 64 expressions of interest and qualifications from prospective architectural teams for the proposed new Inuit Art and Learning Centre at the Gallery. Moreover, an unusually high number of those were of exceptional quality. Given this, the Architectural Selection Committee for the project faced a difficult challenge of selection. It has chosen six prospective teams to prepare a full proposal for the provision of architectural services for the project, and to attend an interview with the members of the committee.”

The development of the Inuit Art and Learning Centre is part of the WAG’s Centennial Legacy project, which will be supported by the Gallery’s upcoming capital and endowment campaign. A national Inuit art task force chaired by Borys has been set up to assist with the development of the program and mandate for the IALC. The Centre will be located adjacent to the existing WAG building, and a groundbreaking for construction is anticipated in 2014.  More information will be released as the project develops over the next few months as the WAG moves into its Centennial season.

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The Winnipeg Art Gallery is celebrating its Centennial year as Canada’s oldest civic art gallery with an unparalleled series of exhibitions, programs, and events, promoting the power of art in life and in our community. As Manitoba's leading art museum, the WAG is home to an international collection of over 26,000 works of art spanning ten centuries, including the world's preeminent collection of contemporary Inuit art.

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