The winners of the 2014 Canadian Urban Design Awards, a biennial competition recognizing projects that contribute to the vitality and sustainability of Canadian cities, were recently announced by the Royal Institute of Canada (RAIC), Canadian Institute of Planners, and Canadian Society of Landscape Architects. Eight individuals, organizations, and firms - including Perkins + Will for a masterplan in Edmonton - were recognized for their urban design efforts in categories such as Community Initiatives and Civic Design. For information and images on the winning entries, read on after the break.
University of Winnipeg Students' Association bikeLAB, Winnipeg, Manitoba by Peter Sampson Architecture Studio Inc.
bikeLAB was designed to support the University of Winnipeg’s green initiative to promote alternative modes of transportation and is intended to serve as a model for future campus construction. The space dually functions as a bicycle storage facility and workshop for students and the public, offering training and maintenance support to riders of all skill levels. With a modest budget of $130,000 CAD, the facility was constructed almost entirely out of recycled materials- most notably two reclaimed shipping containers. The facility is powered by the surrounding buildings and solar collectors on its roof, resulting in a minimal footprint.
Civic Design Projects
New Westminster Pier Park, New Westminster, British Columbia by PWL Partnership Landscape Architects Inc.
The New Westminster Pier Park is part of a long-term plan to reclaim the industrial brownfield sites along the city's waterfront, finally introducing these areas to the downtown core. The re-purposed 3.8 hectare site honors the site's history through the retention of existing piers and boardwalks and boasts multiple programs, incorporating children's play areas, sports courts, a festival lawn, plaza, and waterfront promenade into the park design. Extensive site remediation has allowed native species beneficial to fish and wildlife to be planted along the shore, demonstrating ecological efforts.
Collaborative Exercise 2013: An Architecture of Civility, Toronto, Ontario by Ryerson University (Department of Architectural Science and George T. Kapelos, FRAIC, MCIP, Coordinator)
A one-week exercise at Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario challenged architecture students to imagine how specific sites within the city could be transformed to promote civility and inclusiveness amongst users. Design groups consisting of up to 15 individuals presented proposals for public spaces incorporating various programmatic elements, including community gardens, bike paths, public speaking platforms, and media presentation sites. The project draws attention to the potential of small, overlooked parts of the city to serve as spaces for activities and engagement, promoting a sense of community inclusiveness.
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts - Claire and Marc Bourgie Pavilion of Quebec and Canadian Art, Montreal, Quebec, by Provencher_Roy
The historical Erskine and American Church was redeveloped by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, transforming it into a modern space suitable for the display of a permanent collection of Canadian fine art. The adaptive reuse project gives the church a renewed purpose, promoting both past and present artistic and architectural heritage through the bold contrast of old and new. The art collection is displayed in the church's reconfigured annex, while the nave's design was preserved and is now used for public events.
Urban Design Plans
Blatchford Redevelopment Masterplan, Edmonton, Alberta, by Perkins+Will Canada
The void left by the recent closure of the Edmonton City Centre Airport is transformed into a mixed-use, sustainable community by the Blatchford Redevelopment Masterplan. The design aims to connect and reinvigorate the surrounding communities by extending existing institutional, commercial, and residential uses into the site, bridging the current disparate gap. A large park will serve as a central gathering space and destination for community members and energy for the entire redevelopment will be generated by biomass and deep geothermal sources. Surplus energy will be sold to the community's neighbors, resulting in a "beyond carbon neutral" situation.
Two corten steel structures situated across the water from one another at the ends of Piers 1 and 3 on the Thunder Bay waterfront speak to one another and to the history of the city and the site. The beacons respond in form to one another, with one leaning forward and the other leaning backwards. Scrolling LED lights on the beacons' surfaces project an Anishinaabe poem-story in Morse Code, which can also be heard in whispered Ojibwe and English as one approaches either structure. The poem speaks to the city's native history, the material alludes to the past of shipbuilding, and the form evokes images of lightning and thunder, symbols of the city.
Sustainable Development Award
Evergreen Brick Works, Toronto, Ontario, by DTAH Architects Ltd.
Evergreen Brick Works consists of sixteen existing interconnected structures and one new building on a reclaimed industrial site. It serves as a community landmark with an environmental and cultural focus and is currently host to weekly farmers' markets, conferences, educational children's events, and the offices of Evergreen and similar organizations. The architects proposed a design that preserved the site's heritage, while simultaneously providing site remediation, defining landscape, and conserving energy and water.
A small town in British Columbia demonstrates how communities of all sizes can benefit from urban planning exercises with the development of the Nanaimo Downtown Urban Design Manual and Guidelines. The manual is part of the city's effort to curtail urban sprawl and revitalize the downtown core through new development, while still preserving its history. Copies of the manual will be distributed to landowners and prospective developers in order to inspire and direct the city towards a unified urban form for better quality of life.