March 10, 2005
by Canadian Architect
The Quebec Order of Architects has selected the 32 finalists of the 23rd edition of the Awards of Excellence in Architecture. This year, the Order launched a new program of activities which invites the public to participate by voting online at www.oaq.com to select the Public’s Choice Award from the 32 finalists. This public voting will run from April 1 to July 31, 2005.
The activities surrounding the Awards of Excellence 2004-2005 will also include public presentations of the finalists’ projects in Montreal and Quebec City in April 2005. In addition, the Quebec Order of Architects has developed a new educational program devoted exclusively to children enrolled in the second level of elementary school. On August 30, 2005, the Order will reveal the names of the 11 projects awarded prizes by the members of the jury in each category, as well as the winner of the Public’s Choice Award and the Children’s Choice Award.
French architect and urban planner Odile Decq, from the renowned firm Decq-Cornette, led the jury for the Awards of Excellence in Architecture 2004-2005. The jury also included the following members: Georges Adamczyk, Professor and Director of the University of Montreal School of Architecture; Dinu Bumbaru, Director of Policy at Hritage Montreal and General Secretary to the International Council of Monuments and Sites; Mark Poddubiuk, Architect and Adjunct Professor at the McGill University School of Architecture; and Serge Viau, Architect and Urban Planner, and Adjunct General Director of Sustainable Development for the City of Qubec. The members of the jury presented a unanimous voice in their choices of finalists.
Decq insisted upon the fact that "nowadays, the large scope in which architects work enable them to create innovative projects in rising sectors, for example: urban design, architecture of special events, recycling and the conversion of buildings." She noted that the jury also observed the high quality of most participants, particularly the works within the categories of Institutional and Cultural Projects. The Institutional Projects category highlighted educational facilities, universities and private institutes dedicated to research and development. These projects represent a fascinating window into this dynamic experimental architectural milieu.
Within the Cultural Projects category, the jury noted that the entries illustrated a multidisciplinary approach in architecture, which cleverly demonstrates a crossroads between spaces used for meetings and rituals. The jury was pleased to see projects from both established architects as well as a promising new generation of architectural talent in Quebec.
In addition to casting a vote online, members of the public are welcome to attend presentations of the nominated projects by the architects, commencing on April 7 at 6:00pm at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal. On April 21 at 7:00pm, there will be another session of presentations by finalists at the Laval University School of Architecture in Quebec City. Attendance is free, but reservations must be made in advance on the program’s website.
Another important facet of this year’s award program includes the Children’s Choice Award. Initially a pilot project started in 2003, this award is now a permanent feature of the Awards of Excellence in Architecture program. Since September 2004, a group of 10 children aged 11 and 12 at Nouvelle Querbes elementary school, have enjoyed a unique and stimulating experience in their exposure to architecture that surrounds them and have learned more about the profession of architects. The Quebec Order of Architects is confident that the principles and activities of this program will extend to other schools across the province. The goals are to include the principles of architecture in the everyday teaching both at elementary and secondary levels.