Download Jury PDF

Entrant Name
The Portico Group

Design Team
Michael Hamm -Principal-in-Charge Charles Mayes - Principal – Lead Architect Johanna Schorr -Project Manager, Architect Jay Rood -Landscape Architect John Aldredge -Specifications

Associate Architect: Number TEN Architectural Group Doug Hanna, Partner, Architect Michael Hiebert, Project Manager, Architect Henry Bakker, C.E.T., Contract Administrator Engineers Structural: CKP Ltd. Civil: KGS MEP: SMS Engineering, Ltd. Other Consultants LEED: Enermodal Engineering, Ltd. Professional Surveyors: Shepherd & Stevens

Owner / Client
Assiniboine Park Zoo

Assiniboine Park Zoo - International Polar Bear Conservation Centre

All Submissions > Scale 2: Building Scale

The International Polar Bear Conservation Centre (IPBCC) is the premiere facility in North America for the field study of polar bears and rescue of orphaned of polar bear cubs. It houses a bear cub rehabilitation facility, offices and lab space for researchers, a public interpretive exhibit gallery and a multi-use classroom. The IPBCC was established by the Province of Manitoba as the home base for national and international polar bear research and for the sharing of information among the polar bear research community. The facility was located at the zoo to take advantage of existing animal care facilities and to provide proximity to local universities and government offices.

The facility program was developed with input from the zoo, Manitoba Wildlife, and partner scientists and NGOs (Non-governmental Organizations). The building maintains secure separations between visitors, researchers and animals including separate entries for the public and for staff. The visitor zone includes exhibits and program areas to inform an eager public about how they can be involved with these important animals. The entry plaza is accessed from an entry plaza is connected to, and part of, a major new Arctic exhibit in the zoo. The connection between the arctic exhibit and the IPBCC includes a children’s play zone with a half-buried whale skeleton (model), and raised planters featuring low-growing arctic plants. Research and office areas provide flexible work and meeting spaces that can be configured for researchers with short-term or long-term projects. These spaces vary from one-desk offices to well fitted labs and are supported by common administrative areas.

The IPBCC is a strong and distinctive building. It is intended to be recognized as a science/research center separate from the recreational aspect or themed areas of the zoo. By providing direct connections between the public and those researchers studying wild populations of polar bears, it supports the message and experience of the zoo’s arctic exhibit.

The form of the building is clean and simple. It is positioned on the site to screen a 1950’s era facility that was remodeled to become the bear cub rescue center. The design exceeds the requirements for LEED Silver certification and may qualify for Gold. Exterior cladding is a combination of local Tyndall limestone and high performance glazed walls. The metal soffits are finished with an iridescent coating that changes color under varying sky and cloud conditions.