The 2022 National Urban Design Awards winners envision a healthier Canada
By Nathaniel Bahadursingh|
Tuesday, Mar 22, 2022
The winning projects of the 2022 National Urban Design Awards have been revealed by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC), the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP), and the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects (CLSA).
Thirteen projects across Canada were recognized for contributing to the quality of life and the sustainability of Canadian cities. Awards were granted across six different categories, including Urban Design Plans, Urban Fragments, Urban Architecture, Community Initiatives Award, Civic Design Projects, and Student Projects. In addition, there were two special jury awards, the Sustainable Development Award and the Small or Medium Community Urban Design Award, that were given to projects from within the existing categories.
Projects were evaluated by a jury comprised of Canadian design and planning professionals including Marc Boutin, Audrey Farias, Emeka Nnadi, and Karen Russell.
The winning projects, split between award recipients and those receiving certificates of merit, can be viewed below:
University of Toronto Scarborough Valley Land Accessible Trail
Schollen & Company Inc., Brown & Company Engineering, Moon-Matz Ltd., GeoTerre Limited
Award Category: Civic Design
Project Description: "This precedent-setting project exceeds the requirements of provincial accessibility legislation, providing an important link between the University Campus and the Highland Creek Valley corridor, a highly biodiverse Environmentally Significant Area. The trail enables all people the ability to access nature, and be immersed in it, in an equitable manner. The media has described the trail as 'breathtaking' and a 'new landmark' within the City of Toronto. The surrounding natural setting of the ravine is considered a 'living laboratory' by the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus (UTSC) and supports natural sciences-based curricula. The trail establishes an environmental and accessibility legacy for the UTSC and greater community."
Jury Comments: "This project is recognized for its attention to detail, inclusiveness (accessibility), and ecological sensitivity. The design exhibits significant restraint, allowing nature to take centre stage. The design articulation, from macro to micro, is consistent and flows very well. The colours, textures and materiality contribute to the project's overall success."
Perkins&Will, Jane/Finch Community and Family Centre
Award Category: Community Initiatives
Project Description: "Coordinated by the Jane/Finch Centre, Corner Commons is a temporary, free, and accessible public space. Installed for summer 2021, Corner Commons hosted a wide range of activities with local artists, resident leaders, grassroots groups, and various community organizations from the neighbourhood. As part of Perkins&Will’s Social Purpose program, employees were given the chance to contribute to our communities in direct and personal ways. The members of the Toronto studio helped design, paint, and repurpose the corner of the Jane Finch Mall parking lot into a thriving community hub."
Jury Comments: "An exceptional community-driven process is what makes this project stand out. It is clear that the community came together under the banner of this initiative. Because of this ownership in process and purpose, the result is a space for the community and by the community. With enough infrastructure to sponsor a wide diversity of programming, from community gardens to performance spaces to spaces for protestation, it is truly the hallmark of authentic public space."
Mobile Support as Shelter Support Infrastructure
Integrated Urbanism Studio
Yongmin Ye, Michelle Li, and Edward Minar Widjaja
Professor: Drew Adams
Award Category: Student Projects
Project Description: "Mobile Support as Shelter Support Infrastructure is an urban design project about constructing a mobile support system to serve the unhoused and precariously housed populations of Toronto. Understanding that homelessness is not a static issue, but a dynamic one, and where transportation is a major barrier to access services, we propose a mobile support network accompanied by community-orientated interventions. This project endeavours to provide the conditions for empowering people who are perceived as invisible and with no sense of dwelling in society—a place with a permanent address."
Jury Comments: "This project was recognized for its exceptional depth and breadth of research and research methods, which matured into a diverse and inclusive array of potential solution sets. Remarkable in this array was the sophisticated and nuanced handling of a complicated, difficult but topical subject matter. It was refreshing to see investigations that included primary research at the ground level, ensuring authentic and appropriate considerations for the most vulnerable of our city’s citizenry."
True North Square
Award Category: Urban Architecture
Project Description: "Capturing the unique spirit of Winnipeg, True North Square addresses its location with a climate-responsive design for a community-focused development. Creating towers of modest height responding to a central public square, the project prioritizes the pedestrian and seeks to repair the long-neglected fabric in which it is located. Product of a national competition, the project is active year-round, specifically focusing on transforming the character and lifestyle of the downtown. The ambitious public realm provides a myriad of amenities and open space to create a vibrant, 24/7, urban experience. The pedestrian-centric design also provides improved access to public transit and encourages active transportation."
Jury Comments: "This project was recognized for its capacity to contribute to the broader public domain through its skillful formal, performative, and programmatic solutions. The urban gesture deforms to create a well-defined public space that acts as a micro-climate in a winter city. The street experience is well supported with active edges, public program and urban armature that catalyzes both large-scale events as well as informal gatherings. Of particular note is the quality of the section within the public domain that facilitates urban connectivity and animation."
Saugeen First Nation GZHE-MNIDOO GI-TA-GAAN (Creator's Garden and Amphitheatre) Master Plan
Indigenous Design Studio / Brook McIlroy Inc. and Saugeen First Nation
Award Category: Urban Design Plans
Project Description: "The Saugeen First Nation GZHE-MNIDOO GI-TA-GAAN (Creator’s Garden and Amphitheatre) Master Plan will strengthen the community’s long-term economic viability while supporting the recovery of land-based knowledge known to Indigenous Peoples for millennia. The project is a co-design between community members and an interdisciplinary team led by Indigenous architects and designers. The restoration of Saugeen First Nation’s land surrounding the Amphitheatre is integral to the future success of the site, and supports the Garden’s emphasis on medicine knowledge, land-based learning and traditional storytelling. This emphasis heightens the potential for future programming based around medicine knowledge from a health, healing, and a horticultural perspective."
Jury Comments: "A beautifully executed project with exceptional attention to Indigenous learning, the environment, land-based knowledge and storytelling. The re-use of authentic material and the striking culturally appropriate architectural form lends a profound authenticity to the work."
Public City Architecture
Award Category: Urban Fragments
Project Description: "PARK PARK is a surface parking lot in Calgary transformed into a multi-use space for people and vehicles. A two-year tactical intervention, it views the vehicle as a guest in an otherwise neighbourhood-oriented urban room. The pedestrian-focused park/parking lot features a phone charger, bike pump, library, basketball hoop, hockey targets, skateboarding elements, and a hand-warming area. The space also offers places to sit, eat, gather, or trade goods during community events. Meanwhile, revenue generation is maintained as only five of the original thirty parking spots were surrendered to the reconfigured urban park… park."
Jury Comments: "A delightfully playful expression of highly effective tactical urbanism, this project is recognised for turning its head on the notion of the parking lot and making it instead a people ‘park’ that also allows for vehicles. The colours, patterns, iconography and structures celebrate human scale and urban space, doing so on a relatively modest budget."
Lakeview Community Partners Limited
Award Category: Sustainable Development
Project Description: "Lakeview Village is a 177-acre development combining high-quality housing, office and retail space, dedicated arts and cultural facilities, and recreational areas including trails for walking and cycling. The 15-minute city also includes local access to a portion of Lake Ontario that was once occupied by a coal-fired power plant. Lakeview Village integrates greenspace, transit accessibility, and sustainable low-carbon green technologies such as District Energy and vacuum waste collection. The site’s natural environment serves as an outstanding feature of the development through the remediation of Serson Creek, a 600-metre pier on Lake Ontario, and access to the adjacent Jim Tovey Lakeview Conservation Area."
Jury Comments: "This project is recognized as delivering strong ecological stewardship on multiple levels within a private developer-driven process. Of particular note was the breadth and depth of the sustainability measures that resonate at the urban scale with district energy and at architectural scale with improved building assemblies, building systems, and the balance of active and passive systems. Perhaps equally exemplary was the development's proposal of a sustainability centre which serves to educate its users as well as illustrate the degrees of social sustainability through the provision of microclimates and extensive and well-considered public realm connectivity."
Yarmouth Main Street Redevelopment Phase 2
Award Category: Small or Medium Community Urban Design
Project Description: "This project re-imagines the relationship between people and their ‘Main Street’. It recognizes what makes a town’s setting unique and highlights it for visitors and the local Community in the public realm. The regional-specific design language reinforces Yarmouth’s sense of place and creates an unforgettable experience. This project represents a true placemaking effort that brings to life the community’s needs and aspirations through clever and carefully considered design details. Yarmouth’s Main Street is an example of what other municipalities can do to instill a sense of pride within their community and attract people and business to their region and downtowns."
Jury Comments: "Leveraging an analysis of vernacular building types and material cultures and skillfully transforming these traditional elements of the East Coast landscape into unapologetic contemporary forms that comprehensively animate main street, this project is truly emblematic of the spirt of this award."
CERTIFICATE OF MERIT RECIPIENTS
Filling Pieces - Hall's Lane Creative Studios
Vincent Chuang, Zihao Wei, and Professor Rick Haldenby
Award Category: Student Projects
Project Description: "This project envisions the future of Hall’s Lane, in downtown Kitchener, as an active cultural corridor where artists can exhibit and create their work while the community engages and learns. Eight artist studios of varying types are located between Queen Street and Gaukel Street providing community building activities through workshops, tools, and events. The laneway in this proposal is re-explored as a pedestrian space where the process of art and making is unfolded through the architecture. By partnering with local grassroots organizations, this project builds from, and emboldens, the existing arts and cultural infrastructure in downtown Kitchener."
Jury Comments: "This project demonstrates how indispensable design students are in the consideration of, and intervention in, the design of our cities. The quality of analysis, interpretation, and design, all completed with appropriate care, led to sensitive adaptive reuse and infill projects that will successfully recalibrate the growth of the city beyond speculative development. The graphic strategies deployed are seamless and evocative."
Cohlmeyer Architecture and HETA
Award Category: Urban Architecture
Project Description: "A highly invested client and enthusiastic design team convinced a reluctant authority to proceed with this daring showroom retrofit. Open space and natural light are integral to the project. Four storeys were opened up onto a green courtyard by carving out forty feet from the building. Each long showroom floor is bookended by either a full height glass wall overlooking the garden or a four-storey light well to the north. A reclaimed brick façade and subtle detailing reinforce an idea of reimagined architectural ruin. With deceptive simplicity this project convincingly rejuvenates an otherwise forgettable building into a beautiful showroom gallery and urban jewel."
Jury Comments: "This private business development is an exemplary project that aims to give back to the community through its privately owned public space. The built form is simple and serves to create a backdrop to the natural context. Its extensively glazed facades bring the outdoors inside. It demonstrates architectural excellence at another level with its positive contribution to the community."
Plaza of Nations
James KM Chenge Architects Inc.
Award Category: Urban Design Plans
Project Description: "The project is centrally located in the False Creek waterfront area of Vancouver as part of the designated Entertainment District. It is also one of two last remaining undeveloped waterfront sites in Vancouver. The goal of the project is to provide a much-needed waterfront gathering place for a world-class waterfront city. The project serves many roles: as a destination, a connector, a portal, a foreground, as well as a backdrop to the skyline of Vancouver. Therefore, the project is designed to be experienced at various scales as a unique, lively destination with a diverse public realm."
Jury Comments: "This project successfully weaves the public domain across the entire site and creates tangible and visceral connections to the waterfront. The design was recognized for its site specificity as well as its capacity to create strong synergies between planning principles, urban design logic, and architectural form. The public realm created has a diversity of spaces and places, many of which benefit from strong sectional development that augments social animation."
Award Category: Urban Fragments
Project Description: "Place Monique-Mercure celebrates the landmark Art Deco architecture and interior design of the prestigious Théâtre Outremont in Montreal. Taking advantage of the removal of several parking spaces, the new design offers a small urban landscape with signature seating and lighting features. The seating is composed of a continuous band of granite and stainless-steel inserts that honour a typical Art Deco geometrical line motif, as do the simple sculptural volumes that create the different spatial nooks. Three stainless-steel lightboxes create a warm night ambiance. Their floral design reinterprets a pattern found in the interior of the main theatre."
Jury Comments: "A beautifully designed and detailed project that skillfully examines and interprets a significant heritage structure and brings forward a contemporary expression of timeless elegance and presence. But most note-worthy, particularly given its modest scale, is the delineation of passive and active space, effectively engaging the sidewalk and its inhabitants to construct an urban stage of seeing and being seen. It is an appropriate space of anticipation given its adjacency to the theatre programme."
CF Toronto Eaton Centre Bridge
WilkinsonEyre (Design Architect) and Zeidler Architecture (Executive Architect)
Award Category: Urban Fragments
Project Description: "Located near the busy intersection of Yonge and Queen Street, the CF Toronto Eaton Centre Bridge is a striking public landmark that replaces an inaccessible bridge from the 1970s. The new structure seamlessly links two contrasting buildings — the Romanesque Revival Hudson’s Bay Building at its south end, and the postmodern CF Toronto Eaton Centre to the north. Encased in floor-to-ceiling glass and bronze panels with spiraling angles, the bridge’s dynamic sculptural form gently hovers over busy Queen Street. It is a prominent reminder of the importance of creating infrastructure that is accessible and functional, yet graceful and eye-catching."
Jury Comments: "This project is recognized due to its capacity to transcend its programme of a space of passage to become an urban animator, both for those who inhabit the bridge, but equally important, the pedestrians that move around it in the public realm. This is seen through its sophistication in form as well as its developed light-scape."
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