June 27, 2013
by Canadian Architect
The winners of the 2013 Pug Awards – the People’s Choice Awards for Architecture – were recently unveiled at the Pug Awards closing ceremony at The Shops of Summerhill, recipient of the 2012 Paul Oberman Award for Adaptive Reuse and Heritage Restoration. This year’s ceremony took place on the North Lawn of The Shops, the first outdoor event in the history of the Pugs.
According to the people of Toronto, the Best Residential Building of 2013 is 500 Wellington West. The Best Commercial/Institutional Building of 2013 is 11 Division, Toronto Police Services. 11 Division also is the recipient of the 2013 Paul Oberman Award for Adaptive Reuse and Heritage Restoration.
Honourable mentions in the Residential category go to 650 King West Condominiums, in second place, and Parc Loft Residences on the Park, in third place. Honourable mentions in the Commercial/Institutional category go to 14 Division, Toronto Police Services, in second place, and Rotman School of Management, in third place.
The bottom three Residential nominees are Westside Gallery Lofts, Altitude and Skyscape Condominiums and Palais at Port Royal Place. Only two Commercial/Institutional nominees received negative scores: Toronto South Detention Centre and Trump International Hotel & Tower.
The 9th annual Pug Awards invited all Torontonians to cast their votes for the best and worst new buildings from a field of 43 Residential and Commercial/Institutional nominees. Voting took place online between April 30 and May 31, 2013 at www.pugawards.com.
In a major breakthrough this year, a building in the Residential category garnered more positive votes than any in the Commercial/Institutional category. “This marks a significant milestone in Toronto’s building boom,” declares Gary Berman, co-founder of the Pug Awards. “The development community should pay close attention to 500 Wellington West, as voters’ overwhelming approval surely offers lessons for what the public believes is desirable architecture for a condominium building.”
Urban mid-rises comprise a significant number of Residential nominees in this year’s Pug Awards, including the top three vote-getters. As in previous years, the public continues to gravitate to smaller-scaled, masonry buildings within a strong urban context. Large-scale, suburban-style buildings continue to be rejected by voters, including this year’s bottom three Residential nominees.
Despite the overwhelmingly positive response to 500 Wellington West, Residential projects have fared poorly with voters this year, as in years past, with 22 out of 29 nominees receiving negative scores. Conversely, Commercial/Institutional nominees performed strongly, as in previous years, with 12 out of 14 nominees receiving positive scores.
Buildings with a strong heritage component continue to find favour with voters, as evidenced by the 1st and 3rd-placed Commercial/Institutional nominees. However, “it’s not just the heritage value that the public is drawn to,” states Pug Awards co-founder Anna Simone. “I believe it’s proper massing and a pleasing balance of glass and masonry that the voters are grasping innately. The ratio of transparency to opacity, of solid to void, seems to be right in buildings combining old and new. Entirely new buildings can succeed here too, though, and when they do, Torontonians applaud them. These include 500 Wellington West and 14 Division this year and 60 Richmond East in 2010 and the Gardiner Museum in 2007. It’s time more developers took note of this.”
To have been eligible for a Pug Award nomination, developments must have been completed in 2012, be
located within the City of Toronto and consist of an area of 50,000 square feet or greater or be considered noteworthy by the Pug Awards Executive Committee and Advisory Board.
For more information and a final ranking of all nominees, please visit www.pugawards.com/media/PR/2013PUG_Closing_PR.pdf.
9th annual pug award winners