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Innovative architecture nets city firm more accolades

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The Winnipeg architecture firm with the unusual name -- 5468796 Architecture Inc. -- is on a roll, winning two major awards within the last two weeks.

On Tuesday, the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada announced 5468796 is the inaugural winner of its new Emerging Architectural Practice Award, which recognizes the principals of an emerging architectural practice who have consistently produced distinguished architecture.

And on March 22, the company learned its design for a two-storey, open-air floating dock and fixed boardwalk in Lake of the Woods, called the Guertin Boatport, has received an Architizer A+ Award from Architizer, the world's largest and fastest-growing website for architects.

The two are the latest in a series of awards for the firm, which was founded in 2007 by Johanna Hurme, Sasa Radulovic and Colin Neufeld. Others include a Governor General's Medal in Architecture, an RAIC Award of Excellence, and an Emerging Architecture Award in 2010 from the London-based Architectural Review magazine and the Royal Institute of British Architecture. The latter was for the firm's design of the controversial Cube outdoor stage in Winnipeg's Old Market Square.

"It never gets old," Hurme said Wednesday of the latest accolades. "It's pretty exciting."

The institute said in a news release the jury that selected 5468796 for its new award said the firm represents the best of Canadian architectural practices.

"It clearly stands out on the Canadian architectural landscape and is undeniably helping to reshape it. Its work is refreshing and important in its combination of typological daring, visual playfulness and intellectual rigour -- all the while, thoroughly engaging in the fundamental questions of architecture and urbanism," the jury said.

"To have achieved the breadth and quality of work at this stage in their careers -- from urban pavilions to low-cost housing to multi-use commercial buildings -- is all the more remarkable," it adds.

5468796 will be presented with the institute's award at a gala awards dinner June 7 in Halifax.

-- Murray McNeill

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 4, 2013 A17

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