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Courtesy of Monteyne Architecture Works


Just outside Winnipeg, a tranquil prairie meadow stretches along the eastern edge of Bird’s Hill Provincial Park. Enclosed by the ragged silhouette of a bur oak forest, small springtime flowers pepper its landscape. Its yellow grasses sway in the wind while nervous groundhogs cause the only sporadic bursts of activity. (…) For many, the Winnipeg Folk Festival is a rite of the fleeting Manitoba summer. Its sprawling meadow has become a sacred place. (…)

In 2008, the festival organizers approached Syverson Monteyne Architecture with the challenge of designing the first permanent structure to inhabit this hallowed ground. Known as La Cuisine (…)

In introducing the festival’s first permanent building, Syverson Monteyne took the opportunity to organize the backstage area of the grounds. The designers reconfigured the site to optimize vehicular circulation, improve site drainage, and create a clear distinction between back-of-house and performance zones. (…)

In keeping with its sustainability agenda, the festival organization challenged the architects to make La Cuisine as environmentally responsible as possible. To achieve this, upon completion of the schematic design phase, with building massing, functional relationships and overall expression defined, the design team set out to source recycled materials for construction.

A pre-engineered steel frame was thought appropriate to create a long-span, high-volume structure. The designers located a partially demolished building, and with a short window of opportunity, measured and modelled each structural component. They then laid out the kit of parts and rearranged the building blocks to establish the general volume that they envisioned during schematic design. After deeming the solution appropriate, the building was purchased, disassembled and moved to its new location. All modifications to the reconfigured superstructure were done on site with little added steel and no wasted material.

From the ground up, the building treads lightly. All columns, including the reclaimed hydro poles that support the Verandah, bolt directly to helical ground anchors. No concrete is used and the entire structure may be disassembled and relocated if required.

Each reclaimed material used to create La Cuisine is imbibed with a spirit of place that reflects the essence of the Winnipeg Folk Festival. Wood flooring milled from local oak trees, weathered hydro poles that once stood defiantly on the harsh Prairie landscape, the rust and peeling paint of the steel frame: each tells its own narrative, each has its own history. [1]


Prairie Design Award of Excellence, 2012
Prairie Wood Design Award, 2012


[1]       “Cuisin-Art.” Canadian Architect, June 30, 2013. https://www.canadianarchitect.com/cuisin-art/.

Additional information:

“Bird’s Hill Provincial Park.” Government of Manitoba. Accessed July 29, 2021. https://www.gov.mb.ca/sd/parks/park-maps-and-locations/central/birds.html.

“Case Study: Winnipeg Folk Festival: MONTEYNE ARCHITECTURE.” Case Study: Winnipeg Folk Festival | Monteyne Architecture. Accessed July 29, 2021. https://www.mont-arc.com/news/read,article/12/case-study-winnipeg-folk-festival.

“Folk Festival FACILITIES Honoured for Unique Design.” ChrisD.ca – Winnipeg News, November 23, 2012. https://www.chrisd.ca/2012/11/23/winnipeg-folk-festival-la-cuisine-site-office-complex-architecture-design-awards-eco-friendly/.

“Manitoba Participants of 2008 Prairie Design Awards.” Manitoba Association of Architects. Accessed July 29, 2021. https://www.mbarchitects.org/2008_prairie_design_award_participants.php.

Norman, Leif. “Winnipeg Folk Fest, July 5 2012.” Leif Norman photographer, July 5, 2012. https://leifnorman.net/winnipeg-folk-fest-july-5-2012/.

“Projects: MONTEYNE ARCHITECTURE.” Projects | Monteyne Architecture. Accessed July 29, 2021. https://www.mont-arc.com/projects/display,project/13/winnipeg-folk-festival-kitchen-facility.

Project Title: La Cuisine at Bird’s Hill Provincial Park
Artists:  Syverson Monteyne Architecture
Year: 2012

Place: Bird’s Hill, Manitoba

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