• Sheila Matsubara

Case Study: Manitou a bi Bii daziigae

Updated: Apr 11

Manitou a bi translates to where creator sits and Bii daziigae to brings light.


“Bringing the light” is about the building’s aim to bring students, staff, community and business together to collaborate, bring new ideas, solve problems, future think, and utilize and create the newest technology. It signifies bringing in a new era of hope with the renewed commitment to pursuing truth and reconciliation in everything at RRC Polytech. It also represents the building’s solar energy and sustainability efforts, as well as the natural light that pours through the many windows and main open agora, which inspired the Elders who named the space.


Formerly known as The Innovation Centre, Manitou a bi Bii daziigae is one of three locations within Red River College Polytech's Exchange District campus in Winnipeg. The 100,000 sf facility is a combination of new construction and the redevelopment of a century-old building to establish a state-of-the-art facility for applied research, entrepreneurship and commercialization.


Central to the design is the agora located in the heart of the new building. All programs overlook the agora with diagonal circulation which invites people to cross the space and interact and collaborate with the areas that surround it. The facility features 18 classrooms and five labs.


Manitou a bi Bii daziigae is striving for LEED certification with a goal of 100 energy use intensity (EUI) and near net zero efficiency. Similar-type, post-secondary buildings of 100,000 sf have a 200 to 300 kWh/m2/year EUI. Utilizing the Construction-Management process, modeling was performed on the building design to ensuring it meets the stringent goals of a reduced energy and carbon footprint.




Main Objectives & Biggest Challenges:

Our electrical and power system designers worked alongside the project architects and structural engineers to design a solar system that will annually save 18% in energy consumption.


How SMS met the objectives and resolved the challenges innovatively:

Data from solar modeling aided in maximizing the configuration of the rooftop panels boosting solar energy production.


The elegant Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) along the facade are coloured solar glass panels, which when viewed from different directions, appear to change colours as they absorb and conduct energy. By using technology that acts as an architectural feature our team was again able to substantially increase the total surface area for solar absorption.

Architectural lighting in the agora accentuates the architecture geometries and volumetric shapes that tie each floor together in this central atrium, while using lighting techniques to guide students throughout.






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