The Panel is comprised of seven expert design professionals. All members are senior professionals able to evaluate projects of varying complexities and contexts related to their profession.
Current Panel Members
Ronji Borooah, M. Arch, MSc (PL), FRAIC, OAA, MCIP, RPP, APA
City Architect and Head of Urban Design, City of Markham
Ronji Borooah is a Registered Architect and Registered Professional Planner with expertise in Urban Design. Ronji is currently the City Architect and Head of Urban Design, City of Markham. Ronji is a member of the RAIC College of Fellows, and a former jury member of the Ottawa Urban Design Awards program, the Toronto Urban Design Awards program, the TTC York-Spadina Subway Extension Public Arts program, and professional advisor to the Markham Design Excellence Awards program. Ronji's previous career was in the private sector with Young + Wright Architects and Markson Borooah Architects, where his work has received several major awards, including the Governor General's Award for Architecture and awards from the OAA, CIP, OPPI, and CSLA. Ronji has taught Urban Design at the University of Toronto, and has been a speaker at several conferences of the RAIC, OAA, CIP, OPPI, APA, Construct Canada, Strategy Institute and other organizations.
David Leinster, OALA, CSLA
David Leinster is a landscape architect and partner at The Planning Partnership in Toronto. With expertise in public realm planning and design, and having extensive experience as a design critic and juror, David is a former member of the City of Ottawa’s Design Review Panel for the Downtown Design Review Pilot Project and a former juror for the Ottawa Urban Design Awards.
James Parakh, OAA
James Parakh is a Licensed Architect and the Manager of Urban Design for Toronto and East York District, City of Toronto Planning Division. During the last decade, James has led the urban design studio that has helped guide the review of all development in Downtown Toronto and surrounding urban areas. James also has experience working in the private sector as an urban designer, project designer and project architect for both national and international projects. He is the recipient of numerous awards and has received an Ontario Association of Architects Award in 2008 for introducing the 1:50 program and has recently led the initiative to launch Toronto's Privately Owned Public Spaces (POPS) branding. In 2014, James was appointed to the Advisory Group of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, an international body in the field of tall buildings and sustainable urban design. He holds graduate degrees in architecture and urban design from the University of Houston and Columbia University, respectively.
John J. Stewart, BLA, OALA, CSLA, CAHP
John J. Stewart, a principal of Commonwealth, is a landscape architect and a heritage specialist. Over 40 years, he has focused on the planning and design of cultural resources, building and landscape conservation, and urban revitalization. A graduate of the University of Guelph, he received additional training at Cornell University (USA) and Oxford University (UK) and holds a diploma in the Conservation of Monuments from Parks Canada. Before Commonwealth's formation, Stewart was the first director of Heritage Canada's Main Street Program. The name Commonwealth derives from the Old English term 'commonweal' - a community or group working together for the common good. In this spirit, Stewart has advocated a collaborative approach in undertaking and participating in consulting and development projects. John is a founding member of the Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals; he sits on the Algonquin College Heritage Carpentry Advisory Board, and is a past-chair of the Perth Heritage Advisory Committee. Stewart co-authored with Larry Turner Perth: Tradition and Style in Eastern Ontario.
Alex Taranu, FCIP, MCIP, RPP, OAA
Manager of Architectural Design, City of Brampton
Alex Taranu is a Licensed Architect in the Province of Ontario and Registered Professional Planner with over 30 years of professional experience in planning, urban design, and architecture. During the 1990s he was involved in a number of urban design and architectural projects in many Ontario cities, in particular in Toronto as a consultant on projects such as the “Railway Lands (City Place)”, and the “Waterfront Design Schemes and Charrettes”. Since 2001, he has been heavily involved in the re-urbanization of suburban areas through projects such as “Downtown Brampton Revitalization and Central Area Intensification”. He also has extensive professional work experience as an advocate for urban design in the planning process as the founder and past chair of the Ontario Professional Planner Institute Urban Design Working Group and other professional advocacy organizations.
Emmanuelle van Rutten, B.Arch., OAA, OAQ, MRAIC, LEED AP BD+C
Emmanuelle is a Licensed Architect in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec and Director at the Moriyama & Teshima Architects' Ottawa office. Her professional focus has been on large-scale institutional buildings in Ottawa. These projects are exemplified by their exceptional designs and staunch project delivery.
Over the years, she has earned a reputation as a remarkable communicator (in both official languages), a meticulous project manager and an excellent designer. Her most notable projects include the Canadian War Museum and the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat on Sussex drive.
Emmanuelle is actively involved in Ottawa's design community. She maintains a close relationship with her alma mater - the Azrieli School of Architecture at Carleton University where she is frequently invited as a Guest Lecturer and Guest Critic.