From Architect’s Vision To Visitor Experience

Monday, August 27, 2012

Construction of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights is well underway and the building has become a preferred subject for amateur and professional photographers from Winnipeg and beyond.  But do you know the symbolism behind the unique architecture? How will the architect’s vision translate into reality for you, the visitor?  

The Museum has 4 main parts: the cloud, the roots, the mountain, and the Tower of Hope.  Let’s take a look at what each part represents.


The Cloud

The cloud, which encompasses more than 5000 square metres of windows, is meant to symbolize the wings of a white dove, the symbol for peace, embracing the building.  The cloud is also an allusion to the vaporous state of water.  The clouds in the sky reflect on the bluish windows which look opaque from the exterior.

Vue au travers des vitres
The glass cloud, which looks opaque from the exterior, provides a wonderful view of downtown Winnipeg.



The Roots

Four large roots at base the Museum ground the building to the land on which it sits.  Once completed, three of the roots will be covered in prairie grasses.  They will contain a diversity of museum services, including the Museum’s store, a restaurant, and classrooms for school groups.  

Three roots will be covered in prairie grasses.

The fourth root will be covered in Tyndall limestone steps which can serve as an outdoor amphitheatre.  The root will house a 350-seat theatre. 


In between these two roots is where the visitor’s journey begins – the main entrance.


Entrée principale
The Museum’s main entrance, to the right of the universal access entrance

The Mountain

The mountain, made of Tyndall limestone from Manitoba that is more than 450 million years old, is a balance to the glass cloud.  The heart of the Museum, the mountain will hold the permanent exhibit spaces. 

The mountain of Tyndall stone will hold the exhibits.

Have you noticed the terrace that sits on the side of the mountain? Visitors can relax and take in the beautiful view of the Esplanade Riel and Saint-Boniface.


Vue depuis la terrasse
Terrasse, and view of the Esplanade Riel and Saint-Boniface from the terrace.

To go from gallery to gallery, visitors will traverse ramps or use the elevators.

View of the Museum’s interior from the fourth level
View of the Museum’s interior from the fourth level

All of the ramps will be clad in alabaster stone and lit from the interior.

Rampes d'albâtre


Alabaster-clad ramps

The Tower of Hope

At the end of your visit, those looking for a challenge can climb the spiral staircase up to the viewing platform located on the Tower of Hope.  Don’t worry; there is also an elevator to take you up there as well! 

A spiral staircase encircles the Tower of Hope.

The base building will be substantially completed by the end of 2012. Inauguration of the Museum will take place in 2014. 


More information:

- Antoine Predock Architect website: LINK

- Construction webcams - South and West views: LINK 

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