May 10, 2009
by Canadian Architect
New standards in sustainability and fresh takes on design carried the day at the annual AIBC Architectural Awards, announced Saturday as part of the Architectural Institute of British Columbia conference. Eight awards were bestowed upon British Columbia’s architectural leaders, including two Lieutenant-Governor Award in Architecture medals, three Lieutenant-Governor Award in Architecture merit awards, an AIBC Innovation Award, and an AIBC Special Jury Award. In addition, the AIBC introduced a new award category for emerging architectural firms.
Top honours went to two projects that stood out to the awards jury for different reasons. The Arts & Social Sciences 1 and Blusson Hall at Simon Fraser University, a project by Busby Perkins+Will Architects, was cited as a perfect example of modern architecture blending with iconic, established surroundings. Bruce Carscadden Architect was honoured for combining form, function and fun through a series of park washrooms.
Also honoured was Dockside Green – Synergy, the groundbreaking sustainable Victoria community by Busby Perkins+Will.
“This year, we saw outstanding work that truly spanned the spectrum of architecture,” says incoming AIBC President Pierre Gallant, MAIBC. “From big university complexes and public libraries, right down to washrooms and electrical fixtures, BC architects continue to do outstanding work.”
This year’s volunteer jury deliberated over a record 53 submissions. “I truly enjoyed the adjudication process,” remarks Jury Chair Shelley Craig, MAIBC, of Urban Arts Architecture. “It resulted in some very stimulating, thoughtful discussions around the true meaning of design excellence in today’s built environment, and the important role played by BC’s architectural community.”
Adds Gallant: “The AIBC awards program is about more than peer recognition. It recognizes the key role that architects play in shaping our communities and the growing reputation that BC architects have gained around the world.”
The 2009 AIBC Architectural Award categories include:
Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia Awards in Architecture (Medal and Merit categories) – to honour excellence in completed architectural projects. For a project to be considered in this category, at least one of the project’s lead design architects must be an AIBC-registered architect active at the time of project completion. Projects must have been completed within the previous seven calendar years.
AIBC Innovation Award – recognizing achievements that are not strictly ”architectural,” but that have a direct bearing on the future of architecture in areas such as sustainability, ecology, building technology, and the innovative use of materials. This award is about doing things differently, and better, helping to ensure that architecture remains vital and influential.
AIBC Special Jury Award – given for exceptional achievement, selected from all entries, as determined by the awards jury. This award allows honours to be given for exceptional architecture that might otherwise go unrewarded.
The AIBC Emerging Firm Award – underscores the development, success and contributions of architectural firms that have been in practice for five years or fewer. This award represents the future promise of the profession, celebrating those who have shown exemplary promise, a clear vision, and defined goals in the practice of architecture.
Recipients of the Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia Award in Architecture – Medal for 2009 are:
The Arts & Social Sciences 1 and Blusson Hall complex at the Simon Fraser University Burnaby Campus
Busby Perkins+Will Architects Co.
The Arts & Social Sciences 1 and Blusson Hall at Simon Fraser University is a new multi-faculty development embodying two distinct components. The first incorporates five existing social science programs (archaeology, clinical psychology, criminology, First Nations studies, and the Centre for Forensics Research). The second component comprises a new Faculty of Health Sciences. With this complex, architect Peter Busby and his team solved the design challenge of creating a truly interconnected environment, both physically and philosophically, for several distinct academic departments. The resulting structure is both fresh and innovative while paying homage to the pre-existing iconic architecture of Erickson Massey.
Jury Comment: “There’s a really deft hand at work here. It’s a robust concrete structure with a beautiful scale.”
Kensington Park, Robert Burnaby Park and Swalwell Park Washrooms
Bruce Carscadden Architect Inc.
This project consists of three BC public park washrooms. The design of each embraces a “small buildings matter” philosophy, proving that architectural excellence can flourish in any setting. While acknowledging the utilitarian purpose of public washrooms, these buildings also reflect a refreshing exploration of detail and site, proposing a suite of solutions that address durability, maintenance, ventilation and aesthetics.
Each washroom responds to site in a unique way. The Swalwell Park washroom, located in the heart of the Okanagan, represents the first step in a long-term strategy to rejuvenate an underappreciated park. Burnaby’s Kensington Park structure surrounds a heavily used outdoor recreational space. One of its most distinctive features is its use of inexpensive concrete masonry units individually rotated by 15 degrees – clever in its visual appeal while acting as a deterrent for graffiti. At Robert Burnaby Park, the structure sits embedded into the side of a significant grass berm, boasting an accessible rooftop viewing deck with sweeping panoramas of the entire park.
Jury Comment: “These are reserved, yet durable structures. They also bring to play the aspect of delight.”
Three projects received Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia – Merit Awards in 2009:
The Chimo Aquatic and Fitness Centre
Hughes Condon Marler : Architects
The Chimo Aquatic and Fitness Centre in South Coquitlam reflects a tangible commitment to sustainability, accessibility and community health. Des
igned to LEED@ Silver standard, it features pool water that is preheated by roof-mounted solar panels, and rainwater that is used for irrigation. Pool water is also reused for flushing toilets.
Jury Comment: “It goes above and beyond clichés often seen in the community centre world. I really like the way the light column splits the space. It’s very cleverly presented. It’s a clean, appropriate, sensible building.”
North Vancouver City Library
Diamond and Schmitt Architects Incorporated and CEI Architecture Planning Interiors
Situated as an adjunct to North Vancouver City Hall, the new North Vancouver Public Library features an open, accessible design, with an intuitive flow that leads one through a natural segregation of increasingly quieter environments. Books aside, it is more than a library. It offers a full range of mixed use space, including a wired business and career centre, market promenade, wireless café, rooftop and outdoor reading rooms, and an amphitheatre.
Jury Comment: “I think it’s a good, solid building. What I really like is the rooftop reading space. That’s something I’ve never seen in a library.”
Whistler Public Library
Hughes Condon Marler : Architects
This new public library designed for the Whistler resort community reinterprets local area architecture. The building’s northern exposure allows for optimal visual connection to Whistler’s dramatic natural surroundings, while the opposite side ties in to the meandering character of the Whistler village. Green features include a laminated hemlock green roof system. The end result is a 21st-century library with a traditional feel.
Jury Comment: “I like that it’s rustic, heavy timber but used in a modern way. It’s appropriate for Whistler.”
The 2009 AIBC Innovation Award went to:
Omer Arbel for Bocci
The “22” Series is a suite of electrical accessories that does away with the traditional, ubiquitous and tired plate covers that come with power receptacles, switches, thermostats and phone lines. Using a unique “snap fit” mounting system, components can be installed flush with surrounding surfaces. It presents new potential for architects – professionals who spend significant time and energy ensuring that lines, proportions, accents, movements and relationships are both purposeful and artistic.
Jury Comment: “I believe this is, as architects, what we should be looking at. Until we get down to this, we won’t have control over the ultimate details of a building. This is brand new.”
The 2009 AIBC Special Jury Award was granted to:
Dockside Green – Synergy
Busby Perkins+Will Architects Co.
Synergy is the first stage of Victoria’s Dockside Green, a mold-breaking development that changes the standard for sustainable design. Its 10,000 square metres of mixed-used property includes nine-storey and six-storey residential buildings with ground-floor commercial space, a four-storey residential building, and a two-storey townhouse. The project, which sets new standards for civil and mechanical work, earned a LEED® Platinum rating, making it the most sustainable community in the country.
Jury Comment: “This is a benchmark project of the past 20 years. It demonstrates how to respond to a client.”
The first-ever AIBC Emerging Firm Award recognizes:
JWT Architecture and Planning
In 2006, James Tuer established JWT Architecture and Planning, a two-person firm based on Bowen Island. In keeping with his upbringing, Tuer’s firm is founded on the principles of diversity, adaptability and conservation. The business strategy is built upon collaboration, community service, educational outreach and design excellence. JWT has quickly established a sound reputation in British Columbia and south of the border.
Jury Comment: “He is able to understand the values of maintaining a good firm, design excellence, and client relationships.”
For more information about the 2009 AIBC awards program, please visit www.aibc.ca.