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Six finalists announced for Absolute International Architectural Design Competition


January 31, 2006
by Canadian Architect

In December of 2005, Fernbrook Homes and Cityzen Development Group, partners in Mississauga’s new Absolute Community, launched the first open international architectural design competition to be held in the GTA in 40 years. The objective of the competition is to raise the bar of architectural design in Mississauga and engage international architects’ participation.

The designs are for the fourth condominium tower in the Absolute Community, located on the northeast corner of Hurontario Street and Burnhamthorpe Road, one of the most important intersections in the City of Mississauga. It will be occupied by a high quality tower of at least 50 storeys or more and will serve as an anchor for the 11-acre Absolute Community, which currently has two buildings under construction and a third to start in the spring of 2006.

The first phase was an International Ideas Competition that drew more than 600 registrants and 92 submissions from architects in 70 countries and all major continents. The competition is intended to further develop the site planning vision of a vibrant, residential community by creating an ensemble of high quality urban buildings that contribute to the ongoing evolution of the Mississauga City Centre. The competition has garnered extensive participation, spurred creative thinking among international architects, and has resulted in the short-listing of six architectural firms by a review panel consisting of nine jurors.

Absolute is a total planned community taking shape on an 11-acre site at the northeast corner of Burnhamthorpe Road and Hurontario Street in the heart of Mississauga. Launched in October 2003 and situated just east of Square One, Absolute is the first planned community in Mississauga to conquer distance and the need for a car to enjoy everyday life. Eventually 1,800 families will be able to enjoy shopping, dining, live theatre, the arts and a wide range of sports; all a few minutes stroll away.

This heart of the new Absolute community will be a three-storey, 30,000+-square-foot recreation centre and will be the biggest private centre of its kind in Mississauga. It will offer both indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a fully equipped gymnasium, fitness room, basketball, volleyball and squash courts, his and hers locker rooms and saunas, a party room with full kitchen, a media room, library, meeting rooms and a full-time fitness instructor.

Six finalists were selected by the jury to continue to Phase II of the competition. In no particular order they are:

Nicholas Boyarsky
Boyarsky Murphy Architects, United Kingdom

Nicholas Boyarsky was educated in London at the Architectural Association School of Architecture where he graduated in 1988. He is a co-director with Nicola Murphy of London-based Boyarsky Murphy Architects (BMA). BMA was founded in 1994 and has established an international reputation for its projects. Nicholas has lectured on Boyarsky Murphy’s work across the world and has been a visiting professor in England, North America and Europe. He is author of the book Action Research and recently edited a special issue of AD magazine. He is a Canadian citizen.

Michel Rojkind
rojkind arquitectos, Mexico

Rojkind was born in Mexico City in 1969 and studied architecture and urbanism at the Universidad Iberoamericana 1989-1994. After running an independent practice for four years, he teamed up with Isaac Broid and Miquel Adria to establish Adria+Broid+Rojkind in 1998. He was editor of the technology section FWD of Arquine international architecture magazine. He has been an invited professor over the past five years to various universities. Rojkind established rojkind arquitectos in 2002. In 2005, Architectural Record considered rojkind arquitectos one of the best 10 “Design Vanguard” firms of the year.

Roland Rom Colthoff
Quadrangle Architects Limited, Canada

Colthoff graduated from Carleton University in 1983, and his work focuses on large urban mixed-use developments, which often involve complex approval processes and unique design challenges. He has been responsible for all aspects of projects, including initial feasibility studies, planning approvals, preparation of construction documents, co-ordination of engineering disciplines and construction administration. Recent projects include the BMW showroom in downtown Toronto (which received an OAA Award of Excellence in 2004) and CityGate Condominiums (which was recognized with a Mississauga Urban Design Award of Excellence in 2005). Colthoff is currently involved in the Solstice condominiums, presently in the design development stage, and a new phase of the BMW Canada headquarters retrofit.

Sebastian Messer
Studio MWM, United Kingdom

Messer studied at the Mackintosh and Bartlett Schools of Architecture and the University of Newcastle. Registered as an Architect in 2000, he is currently working on architectural projects ranging such as an office park and a contemporary extension of a grade II listed folly. Previous experience includes co-directing and scripting a video of a research project at the Building Research Establishment (BRE). Messer has tutored at the University of Central England, Birmingham, the University of Newcastle, and has lectured at the University of Northumbria.

Yansong Ma
MAD office, USA

Ma, founder of the MAD office, graduated from the Yale University School of Architecture with a Master’s Degree in Architecture, and received the Samuel J. Fogelson Memorial Award of Design Excellence. He has worked for Zaha Hadid Architects in London, Eisenman Architects in New York City and Murphy/Jahn Architects in Chicago. Ma won an AIA scholarship for Advanced Architecture Research in 2001 and numerous international design awards, including first prize for the Shanghai Modern Art Park Competition, first prize for the Net+Bar conceptual competition, and first prize for the Maple Bay Tourist Center. His work entitled Floating Island – Rebuild WTC NYC, was exhibited in the Beijing Architectural Biennale and collected by the National Art Museum of China.

Tarek El-Khatib
Zeidler Partnership Architects, Canada

El-Khatib is emerging as one of Canada’s leading international architects, undertaking design commissions in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the Caribbean as well as creating award-winning designs in Canada and the United States. He is responsible for the design of some of the firm’s most celebrated buildings. For 24 years, Mr. El-Khatib has handled complex design programs for residential, academic, performing arts and health-care facilities with tight schedules and limited budgets. Tarek’s relaxed approach to client relationships, partnering and problem-solving establishes the atmosphere that achieves results and keeps a project on track.

The jury was comprised of nine highly respected individuals within the planning and architectural world who have the task of evaluating the submissions and recommending the best design for Mississauga’s most important corner. They are: Ed Sajecki, Commissioner of Planning and Building, City of Mississauga; Larry Beasley, Co-Director of Planning and Director of Current Planning, City of Vancouver; Colin Fournier, Professor, Bartlett School of Architecture, London UK and joint founding partner of Spacelab Cook-Fournier GmbH; Michael D. Spaziani, Principal, MSAi; Sol Wassermuhl, President, Page + Steele Architects; Claude Lacombe, Principal, E.I. Richmond Architects Ltd.; Danny Salvatore, President, Fernbrook Homes; Paulo Stellato, Principal, Cityzen Development Group; and Sam Crignano, Principal, Cityzen Development Group.

Shortlisted submissions, honourary mentions and other submissions of outstanding quality from Phase One will go on display at Mississauga City Centre in the Great Hall from January 31 February 9, 2006. The display will move to the Absolute Sales office on February 10, 2006.

The shortlisted submissions reflect a broad range of innovative possibilities for the site, and Fernbrook a
nd Cityzen highly anticipate the further refinement and development of the initial submissions. The six finalists will develop their individual projects and present them to the Review Committee for careful consideration once again in late February. Announcement of the final winner will be made in the spring of 2006.



Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect is a magazine for architects and related professionals practicing in Canada. Canada's only monthly design publication, Canadian Architect has been in continuous publication since 1955.
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