UWSA BikeLAB, University of Winnipeg

Address:515 Portage Avenue
Architects:Peter Sampson Architecture Studio,

Public City Architecture
Tours:Part of the QR Code Tour

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Reusing industrial shipping containers and reclaimed wood from decommissioned university science labs, the Bike Lab is home to a community bicycle repair shop, run by the University of Winnipeg Students’ Association with the help of volunteers. Constructed of two shipping containers previously used by an Italian shipping company, the 320-square-foot space is used year-round. The containers rest on a foundation of temporary concrete blocks. The modular construction allows for the structure to be dismantled or reinstalled in another location, expanding the life of the design and leaving little to no impact on the surrounding environment.

Large glass openings cut into the container walls expose the interior, making the workspace visible to passers-by. Sampson has produced a design that fits well within its historical context and, yet, provides a very contemporary, well-designed gem.

Similar shipping-container architectural projects are a growing trend internationally, but bringing this type of material use to Manitoba, with an extreme climate, represents unique challenges in incorporating heating, electrical and water services at an affordable price.