Ideas competition promises to shift Vancouver’s face and form

The Architectural Institute of British Columbia and the City of Vancouver are pleased to announce their partnership in an exciting new ideas competition that will help shape the changing face of the city.


FormShift Vancouver invites architects, designers and anyone else with creative flair to submit innovative built form ideas that will guide Vancouver’s future growth. The competition runs until April 6, 2009.


“Vancouver has made strong commitments to champion sustainability and address the impact of climate change,” says Brent Toderian, Director of Planning for the City of Vancouver and one of the competition’s organizers and judges. “The challenge now is to translate those bold commitments into workable built form ideas. Through this competition we hope to foster dialogue and bring forth those ideas.”


FormShift Vancouver consists of three distinct award categories:


*Vancouver Primary – design for a mixed use primary (arterial) site along a major Vancouver street that includes a rapid transit station.

*Vancouver Secondary – design for small secondary (residential) site in an established Vancouver neighbourhood near public transit.

*Vancouver Wild Card – a futuristic design that pushes the envelope of sustainable design and community building.


A distinguished panel of judges will be considering criteria that includes originality and innovation, the integration of sustainable design strategies, adaptability, and sensitivity to cultural and climate factors.


“Vancouver architects and designers are already regarded as some of the most creative, forward-thinking professionals on the planet,” says AIBC President David Wilkinson. “This is a chance for a truly fresh approach, to think outside the box and break away from the traditional design solutions. It should be exciting.”


The competition is offering $12,000 in prize money, including $6,000 for the best in the Vancouver Primary category. The entry fee is $100 ($50 for students and interns) to foster widespread participation. Competitors are being encouraged to draw inspiration from several key initiatives developed by the city, including the Climate Change Action Plan, the EcoDensity Charter, and recently, Mayor Gregor Robertson’s Greenest City Action Team.


Vancouver architect Walter Francl, the professional advisor for FormShift Vancouver, adds: “Vancouver has shown itself to be a community with a real appetite and talent for reimagining itself. From False Creek in the ’70s to the Expo lands and now South East False Creek, there has been a continuous theme of creative urban reinvention of a very high calibre. This competition is an opportunity to carry the newly emerging urban forms into the fabric of the city.”


The FormShift Vancouver jury is comprised of Peter Busby, architect at Busby Perkins+Will, Vancouver (jury chair); Ian Chodikoff, architect and editor of Canadian Architect, Toronto; Stan Douglas, photo-based artist, Vancouver; Nancy Knight, Vice President Campus and Community Planning, University of British Columbia, Vancouver; David Miller, principal of Miller Hull Architects and Chair, University of Washington Department of Architecture, Seattle; Brent Toderian, Director of Planning, City of Vancouver. The jury facilitator is Gordon Price, Director of Simon Fraser University City Program, Vancouver.


Following the completion of the competition, the best submissions will be featured as part of an ongoing series of public exhibitions and community dialogues. Detailed information, including registration form and supporting material is available on the FormShift Vancouver website at