Edmonton Funicular, Winnipeg Warming Huts Win Prestigious National Urban Design Awards

Credit: The Forks Renewal Corporation

Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC), the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP), and the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects (CLSA) have announced the winners of 2020 National Urban Design Award winners. The 12 awarded projects range from public art installations and parks to a revitalized underpass.

2020 WINNERS

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Civic Design – Award of Excellence – Mechanized River Valley Access (Edmonton Funicular)

Credit: Tom Arban

Designed by DIALOG, the 100 Street Funicular opened to the public on December 7, 2017. You can enjoy a free ride from downtown into the river valley, taking in the view through the glass walls. The large elevation difference and steep slopes of the river valley are part of its great beauty, but it makes access difficult for users with mobility challenges. The Mechanized River Valley Access was imagined addressing this connectivity challenge.

Civic Design – Certificate of Merit – Berczy Park, Toronto

Credit: Industryous Photography

The iconic downtown Berczy Park was redesigned by Claude Cormier et Associés. The 40 year old site of Bard in Berczy, summer concerts, Old Town Toronto Pumpkin Parade was revitalized to adapt to rapidly evolving community.

Civic Design – Certificate of Merit – North East Exchange District Public Realm (Winnipeg, MB)

Credit: HTFC Planning & Design

HTFC Planning and Design—in collaboration with WSP Engineering, the City of Winnipeg & Centre Venture Development Corporation won the Certificate of Merit for Civic Design for Winnipeg’s North East Exchange District, which is home to a forward-looking public realm underpinned by the rich warehouse commerce story of the city.

Urban Fragments – Award of Excellence – 18 Shades of Gay (Montréal, QC)

Credit: Our American Dream

Claude Cormier et Associés won their second award for 18 Shades of Gay, a 1-kilometre-long ribbon-like installation of 180,000 multicoloured resin balls suspended over Sainte-Catherine Street East—in the Gay Village of Montreal.

According to the jury, “18 Shades of Gay more than met the criteria for this award—as a positive contribution to the public realm, exemplifying design excellence and innovation. The “ceiling” of this 1 km outdoor room has been transformed into a full rainbow spectrum signifying gay pride. It defines the Gay Village, adds to 24-hour activity, supports hybrid economic activities, and successfully elevates an otherwise nondescript urban environment.”

Urban Fragments – Certificate of Merit – The Fourth Street SW Underpass Enhancement (Calgary, AB)

Credit: The Marc Boutin Architectural Collaborative Inc.

The Marc Boutin Architectural Collaborative Inc won certificate of merit for Urban Fragments category with their understated design of the pass, by turning a negative pedestrian experience into something positive. The physical state of disrepair of the underpass—limited accessibility, poor lighting levels, and overall deterioration of materials—required immediate attention. In response, the Fourth Street SW Underpass Enhancement Project is founded on the notion of reclaiming this space of removal as a space for conversation.

Community Initiatives – Award of Excellence – The Warming Huts (Winnipeg, MB)

Credit: The Forks Renewal Corporation

Sputnik Architecture Inc. & The Forks Renewal Corporation took home the award of excellence for Warming Huts on the Forks. Warming Huts is an annual project that engages local and international designers, artists, and students each winter to design and create structures that are installed along with public skating and pedestrian trail on the ice of the city’s frozen rivers.
According to the jury, “The transformative impact that the Warming Huts program has had in converting Winnipeg’s rivers into an active winter civic space is impressive—even more so given its humble volunteer-based roots. In this regard, the Warming Huts program manages to successfully complement other river-related initiatives and generate a remarkable degree of community engagement since its inception.”

Urban Architecture – Award of Excellence – Casey House (Toronto, ON)

Credit: Doublespace Photography

Hariri Pontarini Architects’s renovation and extension to Casey House, a specialized healthcare facility for individuals with HIV/AIDS, meets the needs of patients and healthcare providers in a setting designed to evoke the experience and comforts of home, was awarded Excellence in Urban Architecture.

According to the jury, “Urban designers often face the challenge of adding to heritage buildings. This project enhances the existing building and preserves its specific qualities, while choreographing spaces around a new landscaped central garden court. It respects a long tradition of public buildings as monumental, ‘foreground’ structures.”

Urban Architecture – Certificate of Merit – The Springdale Library and Komagata Maru Park (Brampton, ON)

Credit: NIC LEHOUX

Certificate of Merit for Urban Architecture was awarded to The Springdale Library and Komagata Maru Park, by RDH Architects (RDHA) for elegant, deceptively simple and inclusive gathering place, that is a point of pride for the city.

Other Awards:

Amongst other award winners, Groupe A / Annexe U won the award for excellence for their ambitious pedestrian and cycling plan in old Quebec City and civiliti, LAND Italia, Table Architecture and Biodiversité conseil won special jury award for Corridor de biodiversité, Arrondissement de Saint-Laurent, Montréal. Corridor de biodiversité is part of a major ecological project, which will see the implementation of a Biodiversity Corridor, from the junction of Cavendish Boulevard and Highway 40, right up to the end of Thimens Boulevard, in the Borough of Saint-Laurent.

Corridor de biodiversité – Credit: civiliti, LAND Italia, Table architecture, Biodiversité Conseil

Amongst student projects award category, Topographic Urban Expansion by Qiwei Song (University of Toronto) won Award of Excellence and The Drainage Filter for the Everglades by Qiwei Song, Meikang Li and Chaoyi Cui (University of Toronto) won certificate of merit.

The awards are part of a two-tier program held in cooperation with Canadian municipalities. The National Urban Design Awards program judged winners of the 2020 municipal awards and entries submitted at large.

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