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New Cultural Centre for Mani-Utenam will Showcase Traditional Innu Art and Culture.  

February 8, 2022 - Announcement
Montreal, Canada, 2022 - 02 - 08 - Figurr Architects Collective and Ashini Consultants have been awarded the mandate to design and construct a new cultural centre / “Tshissenitamun Mitshuap” in Mani-Utenam, Quebec. “Tshissenitamun Mitshuap,” which means “Knowledge house” in Innu, reflects the building’s purpose – a space for the dissemination and promotion of Innu art and culture. This highly anticipated project represents a significant milestone for the First Nations community in the path towards healing and reconciliation. Hydro Quebec is financially supporting the construction of this project as a gesture of reconciliation. It was announced by the Innu Council Takuaikan Uashat mak Mani-Utenam (ITUM) on September 30 as a part of the community’s commemoration for the first annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.   

The cultural centre will serve as an opportunity to showcase the artistic talents of the Innu and First Nations communities. Mani-Utenam is well known for its artistic community. Many prominent artists, writers, and musicians have started their careers here. The site across the cultural centre is also host to one of the largest annual Indigenous music festivals in North America, the Innu Nikamu Festival.    

The 1,060 m2 project will provide modern and customized facilities for the artists and elders to share their traditional knowledge and skills with the younger generation, ensuring that the Innu culture is maintained and passed on. The design includes a large auditorium and event space, multi-use rooms, a library, offices, music rooms, and artists’ studios. Figurr and Ashini are working closely with the community and the Innu Council Takuaikan Uashat mak (ITUM) to integrate traditional Innu culture and art into the building’s facade. The design for the cultural centre will take advantage of the natural landscape and dynamic views of the St. Lawrence River. Part of the project mandate is to consider energy efficiency and integrate sustainable design principles. Occupancy is scheduled for 2023.    

About Figurr Architects Collective    

Figurr Architects Collective is an award-winning firm with offices in Montreal and Ottawa. Initially founded in 1989 by Rick Rubin and Stephen Rotman, they now lead the firm alongside Bruno Morin, Pascale Tétrault, and Roberto Campos. The team is comprised of some forty-five architects, designers, technicians, and other professionals. Figurr Architects Collective serves local, national, and international clients from the corporate, multi-unit residential, aviation, and institutional sectors and numerous First Nations communities across Canada.   

About Ashini Consultants   

Ashini Consultants is the most important Indigenous-owned and operated engineering firm in Eastern Canada and is dedicated to better serving the First Nations communities amongst other clients. Since 2012, Ashini offers complete engineering solutions, including civil, structural, mechanical, and electrical engineering and general project management. Led by Marie St-Gelais, an Innu engineer, the team constituted of more than 20 professionals centers their activities around design (plans and specifications preparation), site supervision and construction project management in the building infrastructures, municipal engineering, industrial and mining industries. With its roots laid in Pessamit Innu Community and established in more than two other First Nations Communities, Ashini, which means « Bedrock » in the Innu language, is familiar with the challenges communities face with construction projects.    

Read more about the project announcements here:  

https://lenord-cotier.com/2021/09/09/un-centre-culturel-en-lhonneur-des-survivants-de-pensionnats-verra-le-jour-a-mani-utenam/  

https://www.lapresse.ca/actualites/2021-09-11/reconciliation-avec-les-premieres-nations/hydro-quebec-financera-la-construction-d-un-centre-culturel-innu.php  

https://macotenord.com/itum-apprecie-la-main-tendue-de-la-pdg-dhydro-quebec/