The University of Winnipeg’s (UW) Centennial Library faced substantial infrastructure issues and its redevelopment became a campus planning priority. A functional program was needed to provide space requirements to form the basis of redesign, enabling the delivery of programs and services for an academic library in the 21st century. The UW Library is responsible for the University’s fine art, archives, and anthropology collections and services.


Cornerstone facilitated discussions with heads of collections and library departments to lay out planning assumptions and develop spatial requirements. The team undertook projections and analyses of all library collections, including the integration of archival fonds, anthropological artifacts, and fine art collections in 2D and 3D. Critical was understanding the care, storage requirements (Category A), flows and relationships of cultural materials to all instructional spaces, research rooms, displays, and other components. This involved detailed interviews with library and cultural departments, a literature review, and a review of similar case studies.


Cornerstone met with user groups in three rounds of interviews to determine vision, establish service models, and determine space requirements. The team worked in parallel with architects Brook McIlroy to establish feasibility and function for a renovation of the Library and surrounding areas. Design work is continuing.

A key aspect to this project was the integration of indigenous design woven throughout the building. This impacted the program to include smudging areas, elder spaces, highlighting indigenous collections, and a call to de-colonize the classification of the collections.

The Results


450,000 existing collections volumes


111,000 component gross square feet


30-year planning horizon

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