The elegant Warwick Apartments, with its innovative interior courtyard and vertical runs of bay windows, is one of a handful of surviving luxury blocks that represent the apex of early twentieth-century apartment block design in Winnipeg. Designed by architect William Wallace Blair, Warwick Apartments has been referred to as the apartment block that changed the way Winnipeggers lived.
Coming out of a worldwide depression and a housing shortage in 1908, there was demand for a new but still elegant way of living. Apartment blocks already existed in Winnipeg, but they were small walk-ups and were known for being unclean and overcrowded. They did not get much natural light and had air circulation problems. Architect Blair set out to solve these issues and created an elegant apartment block with the aim of appealing to middle-class citizens. He designed the Warwick’s original 66 suites around a rectangular interior courtyard. The design included windows on all four sides and balconies to provide good ventilation. The result was comfortable, well-lit suites that soon became home for young professionals, the exact clientele it was built for.
The Warwick Apartments have a classically inspired design. The primary facades have high bases of rusticated and ashlar Tyndall limestone. The five stories are brick with Tyndall limestone details. The cornice and parapet are decorated by large dentils (a small block used as a repeating ornament). Penner Properties Western Ltd. and Marshall Haid Associates Ltd. undertook a $3-million renovation of the Warwick in 1986. Their renovations included rehabilitating all of the suites and replacing the windows. After the renovations, the Warwick reopened as a housing co-operative.
- Originally contained 66 suites
- The suites are grouped around an interior courtyard
- Bay windows in every suite
- Built at a cost of $150,000
- Christian Cassidy, "How the Warwick changed Winnipeg," Winnipeg Free Press, 06/24/2012