2014 RAIC National Urban Design Awards announced

Cities across Canada are seeing “renewed creativity and sensitive attention being paid to the public realm,” said the jury of the 2014 National Urban Design Awards. The winning projects, which range from renewed brownfield sites to improved public transit, show that “urban design in Canada is fostering a rich and interesting shared social life for communities.”

The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, the Canadian Institute of Planners, and the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects have announced the 2014 National Urban Design Award winners as follows.

In the Civic Design Projects category, Westminster Pier Park in New Westminster, BC by PWL Partnership Landscape Architects Inc. took the top prize, as it “…responds beautifully to the desire of giving new life to a derelict brownfield site.” Four projects received a Certificate of Merit in this category: Place Pierre Boucher and Platon Park in Trois Rivières, Quebec by the Urbanex division of Roche Ltd.; Market Square in Guelph, Ontario by Janet Rosenberg + Studio Inc.; The Landscape of Memory: Poppy Plaza in Calgary, Alberta by The Marc Boutin Architectural Collaborative Inc.; and the Revitalization of the Victoria Park Subway Station in Toronto, Ontario by the Toronto Transit Commission (concept design, owner/client), SGA/IBI Architects (details design/project architect), Scott Torrance Landscape Architect (landscape, green roof), Brown + Storey Architects Inc. (urban design), and Aniko Maszaros (public art).

The University of Winnipeg Students‘ Association’s bikeLAB in Winnipeg, Manitoba by Peter Sampson Architecture Studio Inc. won the prize in the Community Initiatives category, “a low-cost project [that] was recognized as an example of the power of small gestures.”

The Student Projects category award was given to Collaborative Exercise 2013: An Architecture of Civility by Ryerson University’s Department of Architectural Science (George T. Kapelos, FRAIC, MCIP, Coordinator) “…[which] incorporated student participation and community involvement to focus on the use of leftover spaces.”

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts – Claire & Marc Bourgie Pavilion of Quebec and Canadian Art in Montreal, Quebec by Provencher Roy + Associés won the top prize in the Urban Architecture category, as “compositionally, it is respectful of its historic neighbours while being of its time.” Two Certificates of Merit in this category recognized the Ryerson Image Centre and the School of Image Arts in Toronto, Ontario by Diamond Schmitt Architects, and 11 Division – Toronto Police Service in Toronto, Ontario by Stantec Architecture, ERA (heritage architecture) amd gh3 (landscape architecture).

In the Urban Design Plans category, the Blatchford Redevelopment Master Plan in Edmonton, Alberta by Perkins + Will Canada won for being “…potentially transformative in terms of Edmonton urbanism,” while the Central Transit Corridor – Community Building Strategy for the Region of Waterloo by Urban Strategies Inc. received a Certificate of Merit.

Jiigew [By the Water] in Thunder Bay, Ontario by Brook McIlroy Architects/SPMB took the Urban Fragments award for “using light, sound and silhouette, [where] each beacon creates a different pattern.” Two projects received Certificates of Merit: NCC Rideau Canal Skateway Chalets in Ottawa, Ontario by CSV Architects, and Pottery Road Bicycle and Pedestrian Crossing in Toronto, Ontario by PLANT Architect Inc.

Special Jury Awards were also issued: a Sustainable Development Award went to Evergreen Brick Works in Toronto, Ontario by DTAH Architects Ltd. and Diamond Schmitt Architects, as it is “…worthy of a case study – it did everything right!” and a Small or Medium Community Urban Design Award recognized the City of Nanaimo Downtown Urban Design Manual and Guidelines by D’Ambrosio Architecture + Urbanism, for “…demonstrating the validity for small communities to undertake a major urban planning exercise.”

 “It’s most heartening to see the renewed creativity and sensitive attention being paid to the public realm across the country,” the award jury wrote in a statement. They noted that the projects reclaim lost spaces and create new opportunities for public gathering and enjoyment. The designs restore historic places, stitch together isolated areas and improve the experience of transit, cycling and walking.

The three-member jury found across Canada “an urban architecture that is generous and extroverted, that extends its reach beyond the confines of its programs and animates the spaces around it. “Cities, large and small, are investing in urban design as a way of imagining and shaping their futures,” they wrote. “These submissions send a very positive message about the growing interest in urban design as a major contributor to city-building.”

The jury consisted of: Michael von Hausen, President of MVH Urban Planning & Design Inc. in South Surrey, BC; Ken Greenberg, architect, urban designer, and Principal of Greenberg Consultants in Toronto; and Claude Potvin, Chief of Landscape Architecture and Urban Design at the National Capital Commission in Ottawa.

The awards are part of a two-tier program held in cooperation with Canadian municipalities. The National Urban Awards program judged winners of the 2013 municipal awards and entries submitted at large.

The National Urban Design Awards will be presented during the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada’s Festival of Architecture held in Winnipeg from May 28 to 31, 2014.

For more information, please visit http://raic.org/honours_and_awards/awards_urban/2014recipients/index_e.htm.