Red River Water Level Display

A new heritage piece for the City of Winnipeg with a modern twist. Pattern has worked with the city and HTFC to install an interactive display at James Avenue which displays the Red River water levels in real time.

The Red River Water Level Indicator is a pre-programmed and motion activated light cycle indicating nine historically significant flood events throughout Winnipeg’s history and compares them to the current Red River water level reading at James Avenue.


  • Client Work
  • Interactive Installations


The new installation introduces some cutting edge tech such as motion sensors, web integration and some hint of A.I (artificial intelligence) as well. Despite all these features, it still embraces the historical value of the Red River water levels have for the City of Winnipeg.

The Red River water level indicator displays 9 historically significant flood events throughout Winnipeg’s history and compares them to the current water level readings.

The tech behind the scenes gives the display limitless flexibility and customization abilities along with the possibility of integrating social interactions which creates a unique and engaging experience for the people visiting the site.

James Ave Water Level Indicator



For many years, a river level gauging chamber sat next to the historic James Avenue Pumphouse on the west bank of the Red River in Winnipeg’s Historic East Exchange District. Technical advancements led to the removal of the chamber in 2016. As part of streetscape improvements on James Avenue, HTFC Planning & Design and Pattern Interactive developed a heritage interpretation piece to honor the significance of the river level gauging chamber.


The display is stacked with 15 vertical LED modules which is capable of displaying 281 trillion colours. All these tech are enclosed within an I-Beam which is weatherproof to protect it from the environment around it. The devices which in placed inside the enclosure are a CPU, a Video Image Processor and a router to connect to the internet.

L|P Magazine

Vol 23 no.1 of L|P Magazine looks at how technology is changing design process and expectations of modern architecture and landscaping. An article titled Interactive Heritage Interpretation by James Hudson & Jeremy Choy looks at the history and technology behind the water level display.