SHIFT 2019 Challenge selections announced

The Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) is pleased to announce the selected projects for the first-ever SHIFT 2019 Infrastructure/Architecture Challenge. Meant to spur thinking and conversation about the intersection between architecture and societal issues, the SHIFT Challenge called upon Ontario architects to demonstrate how architectural thinking can promote social equity, reduce isolation and embody social justice.

Held every second year, SHIFT will alternate with the OAA’s Design Excellence Awards, which focus on recognizing outstanding work in the industry.

“The SHIFT Challenge reflects the importance of the built environment in people’s lives,” says Kathleen Kurtin, OAA President. “Introducing this program as a complement to our usual design awards is an important demonstration of our abilities as a profession to confront challenging problems that extend beyond individual projects into the broader built environment.”

For the inaugural year, OAA selected a theme that affects every Ontarian: infrastructure. Submissions focused on how architects could use their skills—design thinking, problem solving and knowledge of the built form—to propose new ways to understand, create or support physical or social infrastructure that links our communities.

Submissions ranged from intimate local projects that could be replicated in communities across the province, to massive transformations altering how various components of the built environment interact with each other. Judges evaluated projects on a number of criteria, including innovation, social responsibility, inspiration, inclusivity and holistic approach.

“One of the pleasant surprises in exploring all of these submissions together is that what you see emerge is a holistic approach to infrastructure,” says Kurtin. “Any one of these projects, if implemented, would help address an issue of immense importance and, at the same time, complement and reinforce each of the other submissions.”

The OAA’s jury ultimately selected seven projects that stood out as best meeting the evaluation criteria, as well as four honourable mentions.

The Selected Projects are: GO Bike by Naama Blonder and Misha Bereznyak (Smart Density), Immigrant Landscapes: Architecture in the Age of Migration by Sophie Mackey, Multi-Tach: Addressing Housing Infrastructure by Jaegap Chung, Sue Jean Chung, Derek McCallum, Sudipto Sengupta, Hesam Rostami, Hamid Imami, Robin McKenna, Matthew Mckenna and David Kotewicz (Studio JCI Inc.) and Nam Hoang (Makeshift Collective), Rail to Trail: Imagining a Future London by Ryan Ollson, Magdaleen Bahour, Richard Hammond, Shannon Hawke, Tyler Hearn, Jerry Kim and Siobhan Latimer (Cornerstone Architecture Incorporated); Re-Engaging the Defunct and Historic Welland Canals by David Donnelly and Martin Bressani (McGill University); Story Pod: Grassroots Transformation of Civic Space by Kelly Buffey, Robert Kastelic and Aaron Finbow (Atelier Kastelic Buffey Inc.), Scott Munro, Bill Mctavish and Ted Kurello (Hollis Wealth), and Mark Agnoletto (Town of Newmarket); and Urban Energy Shift by Zachary Colbert (Zachary Colbert Architects and Carleton University Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism), Antonio Gioventu (Condominium Homeowners Association of British Columbia), and Shelby Hagerman, James Nguyen, Jasmine Sykes and Connor Tamborro (Carleton University).

Honourable Mentions were awarded to Central Parkway Study by Martin Tite, John Cook, Alex Leung, and Sean Fright (GRC Architects Inc.), The Counterpublic of Union Station by Aidan Mitchelmore, Revitalizing Suburbia: Build Integrated Communities by Connie Lei and Stuff Cloud: A Smart Infrastructure for Buying, Selling, Sharing, Swapping and Remaking Things in Cities by J. Alejandro López, Marie-Eve Bélanger, Rodolphe El-Khoury and Matt Ratto (University of Toronto).

More information about the SHIFT Challenge submissions will roll out as part of the 2019 OAA Annual Conference, which takes place in Quebec City from May 22 to 24.