Urban design has the ability to transform built landscapes more than any other industry facet. Moving beyond single buildings, the impact of urban design projects are magnified as single projects have the ability to change the face of a city and bring a new identity to a space that was beforehand recognized.
Architecture Canada |RAIC, the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP) and the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects (CSLA) have recognized those who achieve such feats through the announcement of the recipients of the 2012 National Urban Design Awards.
According to that cohort of architectural authorities, the Urban Design Awards program was ‘established to recognize individuals, organizations, firms and projects located in Canada that have contributed to the quality of life in our Canadian cities and their sustainability.’
Competing projects were judged in relation to key categories ranging from Community Improvement Projects to Civic Design Projects. According to the awards’ hosts, the winning projects have been chosen for fulfilling the ‘important role in maintaining and enhancing the quality of life in Canadian Cities.’
While eight projects earned major awards, standout projects include the Calgary East Village Master Plan by Broadway Malyan, with Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, which was recognized for urban design, and North Vancouver City Library by a joint venture of Diamond Schmitt Architects and CEI Architecture Planning Interiors, which gained recognition for urban architecture.
Jury members labeled the former development as ‘an exemplary model for other municipalities to follow as it contains much intelligence with respect to municipal finance, strategic planning and clear visioning for the future identity of this previously degraded Calgary community.’
Given the current economic and environmental clime, longevity and sustainability were obvious points of interest for jury members, who also praised the North Vancouver City Library, a LEED Gold certified building, for its green ambitions.
“This new library, located directly across from North Vancouver’s City Hall, has provided the municipality of North Vancouver with an attractive civic building and plaza that significantly contributes to its identity and quality of its public realm,” the jury said. “The building invites the general public to move freely through its spaces, enjoying a generous atrium space and a rooftop garden with views toward Burrard Inlet and the North Shore mountains.”
According the innovation presented and recognized throughout the awards process, the Canadian industry is creating a strong foundation for a built environment that is both economically and environmentally sustainable. This will mean the continuation of strong, successful and highly liveable cities countrywide.