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One of the new structures along the UMCycle Bike Kiosk.

One of the new structures next to the UMCycle Bike Kiosk.

UMCycle structures designed and built by Faculty of Architecture students

June 19, 2018 — 

As the UMCycle Bike Kiosk’s one-year anniversary approaches, the community will notice new structures surrounding the full-service bike shop at the University of Manitoba’s Fort Garry campus.

Undergrad architecture students recently had the opportunity to participate in a unique project that saw them design and build the structures as part of their coursework. Though the students work on many conceptual design projects through the year, they were able to test their skills against real-world demands with this project, says associate professor Lancelot Coar of the department of architecture.

“There’s no better teacher than reality,” says Coar, who acted as the project lead.

The project originated when the University of Manitoba Students’ Union (UMSU), which operates UMCycle, approached Coar after realizing they needed more room to store, repair and sell bikes. Core consolidated their needs into four projects: increased capacity for bike storage and repair, increased capacity for workshops, a bike sales kiosk and a signage component that will be launched by the end of the summer.

“This initiative aimed to simultaneously enhance the capacity of UMCycle while also having the students engage in the community and participate in a community project,” says Coar.

In January 2018, 11 students from the faculty set to work to design and build the structures over the course of the semester, going through the consultation and design processes to pre-fabrication to on-site construction. Jointly funded by U of M and UMSU, with additional student initiative funds, the project saw involvement from many U of M departments and units.

“This really was an incredible process,” says Coar. “The project was a combination of diverse interests and addresses the large diversity of uses for the facility.”

A key element of the project was the collaboration with members of the Indigenous community at U of M, including Elder-in-Residence Marlene Kayseas, Indigenous Student Centre staff and the University of Manitoba Indigenous Students’ Association. Coar and his students incorporated the U of M’s Indigenous Planning and Design Principles in everything from the colours and materials used to the traditional plants (such as sweetgrass) adorning the space.

The team also engaged with Kayseas when planning the project’s upcoming signage component. Composed of natural materials that will oxidize throughout the year, the signage will acknowledge land use and resources, while linking original area maps with contemporary active transportation maps.

“I really enjoyed it,” says Kayseas of her work with the project, which included blessing the space and advising the project team in several areas. “I am excited for people to learn about what we [Indigenous Peoples] believe.”

With tight timelines, the project demanded a lot of everyone involved – but the students and UMSU volunteers were up to the task, continuing their work to finish the project even after the course was over.

“The students did an incredible job,” says Coar, acknowledging the work the students completed in only one semester. “It took real dedication from the students to see the project through. It was such a great experience.”

Check out our photo gallery of the new structures, which include storage space for up to nine bikes, increased workshop and repair space, and a new bike sales kiosk, which features burnt cedar strips with a pattern of the Red River.

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