July 7 deadline for Market Square Urban Design Competition in Stratford

The first phase of The Stratford Market Square Design Competition is fast coming to a close. The final deadline for registration is fast approaching on July 7. Competition submissions/proposals will be received from registered participants until September 8, 2006.

The winning design will be announced September 27, 2006. The public will be able to review all design submissions and provide input to the competition at a public open house prior to the final judging of the competition.

International students, professional designers, architects and planners have been invited to prepare urban design proposals for the Market Square site. To date, inquiries and registrations have come from Spain, Argentina, Israel, Bangkok and Turkey as well as many from the US and Canada.

The objectives of the design competition are to stimulate imaginative architectural and urban design proposals that respond to the Stratford Market Square’s context, constraints and opportunities; to achieve design excellence and to improve the downtown core of the City of Stratford.

“The community clearly sees the Market Square as our space a special place for the people of Stratford”, says Marcia Matsui, Chairperson of the Market Square Advisory Committee. “Market Square has the potential to become the dynamic heart of the city a public focal point that invites residents and visitors to enjoy the beauty of City Hall and to linger, interact and attend gatherings in the downtown core.”

The winning design will be announced September 27, 2006. The public will be able to review all design submissions and provide input to the competition at a public open house prior to the final judging of the competition.

The winning submission will receive a cash prize of $3,000 and will be recommended to Stratford City Council for implementation. An honourable mention will receive a cash prize of $1,000.

George Baird, Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto is the chairperson of the competition jury. Professor Baird is a partner in the Toronto-based architecture and urban design firm Baird Sampson Neuert Architects Inc.

Professor Baird leads the jury, consisting of the following design and planning professionals, and local community members:

Dan Leeming, Principal, The Urban Planning Partnership, Adjunct Professor, University of Guelph School of Landscape Architecture
Eleanor Kane, Co-owner, The Old Prune Restaurant, former chair Gallery Stratford Board, former member, Stratford Festival Board of Directors
Tom Orr, Broker, Orr Insurance and Past Chair of the Stratford Historical Society, Stratford Perth Historical Archives and Past Chair, Stratford Festival Board of Directors
Karen Hammond, Lecturer & Admissions Officer, University of Waterloo School of Planning

Stratford’s Market Square is an historically significant and physically intact, legible, urban space that is presently underutilized.

Located adjacent to City Hall, it has a distinctive form, a trilateral space, produced by three historic trade routes and the intersection of three 18th- and 19th-century survey grids. Market Square is a prominent part of Stratford’s downtown heritage conservation district.

Renewed interest in the future of Market Square arose due to a Transit Study that recommended the location of a permanent transit terminal in the Square. Because to the far-reaching impact such as decision would have on the downtown core, Stratford’s City Centre Committee initiated a community engagement process.

Public feedback gained through a series of visioning sessions and an open house event indicated a clear consensus that the current usage of the Square is not appropriate, and alternative visions need to be considered. The Market Square Advisory Committee, a committee of Stratford City Council, was formed to host a design competition to solicit concepts from design professionals.

The Market Square Advisory Committee a committee of Stratford City council, and is composed of local citizens who have an interest in the vitality and heritage of the Market Square. The committee’s objectives are: to provide recommendations to Council regarding a final concept plan for the Market Square; to oversee and host a Design Competition for a concept for Market Square; and to recommend to Council a suggested time frame and process for implementing the design, and will assist with a fundraising strategy and the identification of funding opportunities.

For more information about Stratford’s Market Square, please visit www.city.stratford.on.ca/marketsquare/competition.asp