Frederic Schwartz Architects

CANADIAN MUSEUM FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Winnipeg, Canada
2003

Canadian Museum of Human Rights

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights promises to make Winnipeg an international destination for the exchange of ideas. Our design creates both an iconic addition to the city’s skyline and a powerful public gathering space. With a dramatic public space at its heart, the design highlights the value of open dialogue, and the opportunity to gain knowledge and understanding from these interactions.

The museum’s site design considers such factors as circulation patterns, native plant species, sunlight, wind and sustainable materials. Multiple routes traversing the site lead to the museum; banks of trees and a human rights plaza form the approach to a circular forum - an outdoor room interwoven into the public realm that serves as the museum entrance. At times the forum is empty, framing the great expanse of sky; at other times it is bustling with museum and other citywide events. As communicated through its active surfaces, the interior of the forum provides a place for various types of electronic information display. Through the facade, the museum is an index of the ongoing human rights movement and its state of flux— of occurrences both monumental and everyday.

With commanding views of the convergence of the Assiniboine and Red Rivers, the museum’s top floor houses the Great Hall and the library. Visitors can explore individual permanent exhibitions or take the elevator to the top, where the exhibit path begins and winds down the curving, universally accessible ramps. The wide ramps provide a continuous display space for introductions, outlines and timelines. The museum incorporates 1,400 square meters of rooftop landscaping, creating opportunities for contemplative gardens while also contributing to the building’s energy efficiency.

Globally networked to other institutions with similar missions, this museum will become central to the human rights movement. With an emphasis on education and participation, the museum will engage and enlighten future generations. In this dynamic space, the interaction between people and the sharing of personal wisdom is equally as important as absorbing the information from the exhibition walls.

   
   

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