Stratford Ontario Market Square Urban Design Competition Winner Announced

The Stratford Market Square Advisory Committee announced today that PLANT Architect Inc. of Toronto, Ontario has taken first place in the Market Square Urban Design Competition. Founded in 1995, PLANT Architect is an interdisciplinary firm that branches into the domains of architecture, landscape, ecology, furniture, art and graphic design.

The winning submission received a cash prize of $3,000 and will be recommended to Stratford City Council for implementation. “The jury unanimously selected PLANT Architect’s strongly people oriented space, environmentally friendly orientation and flexibility in the types of activities that can be accommodated. It also very effectively communicated the history of Stratford,” said George Baird, jury chairperson, and Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto.

David B. Sapelak of New Hamburg received an honourable mention receiving a cash prize of $1,000. Three submissions were selected for jury recognition. James Roche & Elise Shelley; Rodolphe el-Khoury and Paul Dowling Architect/Lillepold Architect of Paris Ontario all received recognition.

“The range of ideas presented was extremely interesting, and very helpful to provide direction to Stratford City Council for the future of the market square,” stated Baird. A total of 31 submissions were received with 7 from southwestern Ontario, 13 from across Canada, 3 from the US and one each from Argentina, Austria, England, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico and Portugal.

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.

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. 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.

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