Clayton Community Centre picks up honors at Fast Company’s 2022 Innovation by Design Awards

The project by Vancouver-based hcma has been recognized in multiple categories at Fast Company’s annual awards.

Interdisciplinary design firm hcma has been recognized in multiple categories at Fast Company’s 2022 Innovation by Design Awards for its work on Clayton Community Centre in Surrey, British Columbia. Clayton Community Centre is the Winner in Spaces and Places, a Finalist in the General Excellence category and received an Honorable Mention in three other categories: Accessible Design, Experience Design and Sustainability.

Operable roof lanterns allow fresh air to regularly sweep through the building, helping to keep it naturally ventilated and at a comfortable temperature year-round. Photo by Andrew Doran

The Innovation by Design Awards, which can be found in the October 2022 issue of Fast Company, honour the designers and businesses solving the most crucial problems of today and anticipate the pressing issues of tomorrow. The competition, now in its 11th year, features a range of blue-chip companies, emerging startups, and hungry young talents. It is one of the most sought-after design awards in the industry.

Combining world-leading environmental standards with equally ambitious social inclusivity goals, Clayton Community Centre unites recreation, library, arts and outdoor spaces into a truly integrated facility. Alongside this recognition, Clayton Community Centre (76,000 sqft / 7,060 sqm) achieved International Passive House certification for ultra-low energy use in December 2021, making it the first of its kind to be certified in North America and the largest non-residential project to be certified in North America.

Large sliding doors connect the central gathering space to the outdoor terrace. Photo by doublespace

Melissa Higgs, hcma Principal, says “From the earliest stages of the process, we wanted Clayton Community Centre to seamlessly integrate arts, library and recreation activities, to achieve very high environmental performance and to be an inclusive, safe, and equitable place for everyone. So, it’s an honour to be recognized at Fast Company’s Innovation by Design Awards, not only for the design of the space but also for its experience, sustainability, and accessibility”

A central stair spirals up to the library. Photo by Ema Peter

Darryl Condon, hcma Managing Principal, says “Over the last few years, at hcma we have challenged ourselves and our clients to design spaces that really are for everyone and that create positive social impact. Recognition at Fast Company’s Innovation by Design Awards is a welcome validation of our approach and fuel to our fire.”

The building’s mass timber structure lends a warm touch to the library’s reading areas. Photo by doublespace

“A common theme among this year’s Innovation by Design honorees, which range from healthcare interfaces to autonomous driving technology, is permanence,” said Brendan Vaughan, editor-in-chief of Fast Company. “The products that leaped out to our editors and judges went against our quick-fix consumer culture, while also manifesting a more inclusive vision of design.”

Inside, a large central commons serves as a multi-purpose community living room. A single reception desk simplifies access to the community centre’s various program spaces, and a central stair leads to the library. Photo by doublespace
Clayton Community Centre’s carefully detailed and constructed envelope helps it meet the rigorous air-tightness requirements for Passive House certification. Photo by doublespace

Honorees for the 2022 awards were selected in the following categories: Accessible Design; Apps and Games; Automotive; Branding; Circular Design; Data Design; Design Company of the Year; Enterprise; Experience Design; Experimental; Fashion and Beauty; Finance; General Excellence; Graphic Design; Health; Home; Hospitality; Impact; Learning; Marketing; Materials; Packaging; Pandemic Response; Products; Rapid Response; Retail; Social Justice; Spaces and Places; Sports and Recreation; Students; Sustainability; Transportation; Urban Design; User Experience; Wellness; Workplace; Best Design Asia-Pacific; Best Design Europe, Middle East, and Africa; Best Design Latin America; Best Design North America; Years in Business (On the Rise: 0–4 Years, Established Excellence: 5–19 Years, Enduring Impact: 20+ Years); and Size of Business (Small Business: Fewer Than 100 Employees, Midsize Business: 100–999 Employees, Large Business: 1,000+ Employees). New categories included Accessible Design, Automotive, Circular Design, Enterprise, Experience Design, Hospitality, and Rapid Response.

The judges include renowned designers from a variety of disciplines, business leaders from some of the most innovative companies in the world, and Fast Company’s own writers and editors. Entries are judged on the key ingredients of innovation: functionality, originality, beauty, sustainability, user insight, cultural impact, and business impact.

Winners, finalists, and honourable mentions are featured online and in the October issue of Fast Company magazine, on newsstands September 27, 2022.

To see the complete list, visit:

Read the full feature profile, ‘Getting Active With Passive House: Clayton Community Centre, Surrey, British Columbia‘ in Canadian Architect’s February 2022 issue: