Urban design awards
The Ottawa Urban Design Awards is a biennial awards program that celebrates projects in the City of Ottawa that achieve urban design excellence. This year the City of Ottawa is introducing a new category that highlights the power of community action and / or community engagement. In addition, the 2019 Urban Design Awards has engaged the public, with the awarding of the first ever People’s Choice Award, recognizing the nominated project that receives the most votes in an online survey.
In our eighth instalment of the program, the 2019 awards will honour exceptional projects in Ottawa completed between September 1, 2017 and September 1, 2019.
Winners of an Award of Excellence will be sent forward as the Ottawa entry to the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada’s Urban Design Awards competition in 2020.
2019 Award Winners
Award of Excellence: Urban Infill (Low Rise)
This lot was subdivided into three narrow floor plates that are interlocked, giving a more flexible and open layout to the three, three-storey townhomes built on it. Large glass windows on the front and back facades allow for natural light to carry throughout the entirety of the main level. Using the entire width of the lot, the front yard setbacks were maintained and allowed for landscaping creating a stunning street presence.
Although modern in design, the project does not compromise the traditional streetscape or harmony of the existing neighbourhood. The townhomes achieve this by remaining true to both the height and setbacks of neighbouring homes. The mature tree canopy was conserved throughout the project, which offers natural sun shading and provides privacy for residents.
- Christopher Simmonds; Christopher Simmonds Architect
- Daniel Dickie; Iris Custom Homes
- Doug Gray; D.B. Gray Engineering Inc.
- Jason Vriend; VRIEND Engineering
Award of Excellence: Urban Infill (Mid to High Rise)
Senate of Canada Building
One of the most important cultural and historic landmarks in Ottawa, the former train station has undergone a ten-year restoration and is now the interim home to the Senate of Canada.
The project defines a contemporary language of new volumes and insertions on the exterior, which are informed by the classical language of the original building. The new exterior east addition not only resolves a long incomplete and abandoned elevation but now provides a completed terminus to the view corridor along Mackenzie Drive.
The redefined forecourt now acts as both ceremonial and public entrance to the Senate and includes the relocated sculpture of the Famous Five, extending the civic presence of the building into the broader urban and social fabric of the City.
- Donald Schmitt; Diamond Schmitt Architects
- Martin Davidson; Diamond Schmitt Architects
- Ralph Wiesbrock; KWC Architects
- Jan Kubanek; ERA Architects
- Lisa Nicol; John G. Cooke & Associates
- John Hillier; DTAH
- Andrew Pratt; Crossey Engineering
- Duane Waite; Crossey Engineering
- Francois Roupinian; Light Emotion
- Mark Reid; PCL
Award of Excellence: Public Places and Civic Spaces; Award of Excellence: Urban Elements
Flora Footbridge spans 125m over the Rideau Canal between Fifth Avenue and Clegg Street, bringing together the neighbourhoods of Old Ottawa East, the Glebe and Old Ottawa South.
The crossing is designed to be universally accessible, acting not only as a functional pathway, but also as a “place for people” that promotes social interaction and is safe for all.
The bridge profile is expressed as a clean white ”ribbon” within the setting, while a delicate, veil-like aluminum railing floats beyond the deck edge. An understated lighting scheme utilizes concealed LED fixtures in the handrail, as well as below deck accent lighting to illuminate the V-frames, providing pleasing reflections in the water by night. The landscape design exhibits a strong contemporary quality while respecting and supporting the iconic heritage setting.
- Mark Langridge, Architect; DTAH
- Peter Fletcher Smith, Landscape Architect; DTAH
- Michel Vachon, Lead Bridge Engineer; WSP
- Matt Julian, Project Bridge Engineer; WSP
- Pat Hill, Lead Civil Engineer; WSP
- Paul Boken, Lighting Designer; Mulvey & Banani Lighting Inc.
- Richard Moore; City of Ottawa
- Stephen Forestell; City of Ottawa
- Colin Simpson; City of Ottawa
Award of Excellence: Visions and Master plans
Capital Illumination Plan 2017 - 2027
The Capital Illumination Plan 2017-2027, is the first plan of its kind in Canada, outlining a strategy for illuminating and showcasing the nighttime landscape of the National Capital Region’s core area, comprised of the downtown sectors of the City of Ottawa and la Ville de Gatineau.
The Plan aims to enhance the natural and cultural character of the Capital while ensuring the highest standards of excellence in urban, landscape, and architectural design. The Plan supports these goals through a unique and innovative strategy addressing an emerging field at the intersection of urban planning, urban design, engineering, landscape architecture, and architecture.
- National Capital Commission; Long Range Planning and Transportation team led by Lucie Bureau
- Judith Balland; Lumipraxis stratègie lumière
- Jonathan Loschmann; WSP
- Gérald Lajeunesse
- Alain Guilhot Lumière
Award of Excellence: Community Initiatives; Award of Merit: Urban Elements; People’s Choice Award
The Gather-Ring is a symbolic ‘Canada 150’ offering of cultural exchange, storytelling, discourse and contemplation.
It is firmly rooted and portaged on a base made from a metaphoric and mythic Mother Tree that is over 1000 years old. This red cedar base, with its burned-on-the-boards growth rings, contains and portages, as a metaphoric canoe, our inclusive collective history, memories, stories, and dreams. At its sapling center, a polished Canadian black granite circle, highly reflective of the activities above, simultaneously evokes even deeper time and history within its depth.
The Dream Catcher canopy pattern is derived by dividing the outer ring into 13 equal segments, symbolic of both the 13 cycles of Grandmother Moon, as well as Canada’s 13 provinces and territories. At night, subtle LED lighting is projected onto this swirling interplay with a sequence of dark-blue, red, yellow and white colours associated with the Cardinal Directions and symbolic of human diversity.
- Manuel A. Báez with Canadian Heritage, Art in the Capital Program; Manuel Báez Studio
- Charlynne Lafontaine; Loretta Studios and Gallery
- Elder Claudette Commanda; Kitigan Zibi Anishnaabeg First Nation
- Elder Verna McGregor; Kitigan Zibi Anishnaabeg First Nation
- Aniq Chaudhry, Josh Eckert, Sami Karimi, and Guillermo Bourget Morales; Project Team
- Tim Priddle; The WoodSource
- Martin Conboy; Martin Conboy Lighting Design
- Scott Funnell; WSP
- Jason Gibson; Gibson Timber-Frames
- Stephane C. Dugre; GoodFellow Inc.
- Goran Bjedov; Richie’s Welding
Award of Excellence: Student Projects
Power, Pulp, Paper and Print: Revealing the Industrial History of Hull Landing
A re-envisioned E.B. Eddy Mill Site that highlights the history of “making” through uses such as workshops, studios, maker and artist residences as well as showcasing artifacts and historical points of reference.
Materials, design and educational waypoints are proposed to reveal the lost industrial history of the site and landscaping reveals the lost history by utilizing native plantings, such as Alvar and Riparian environments.
In this vision, the site is transformed into an established residential and commercial space with a lively public real that allows visitors and residents to experience the character of the riverfront which was so important to the area historically.
- Madelaine Snelgrove; Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism, Carleton University
Special Jury Award of Excellence
Visitor Welcome Centre on Parliament Hill
The entrance to the Visitor Welcome Centre is carefully set into the Vaux Wall, one of the most significant and valued heritage landscape features on Parliament Hill. With sweeping arches at both the entrance and exit, the stones of the Wall gracefully reveal a recessed façade of ornamental woven metal; its form is consistent with the heritage landscape palette, interpreted through a contemporary aesthetic. A new steel exterior guardrail, reminiscent of Parliament Hill's cast-ironwork, tops the extended Vaux Wall and forms a series of interweaving double-helices inspired by Gothic geometries.
Once through the entrance arch, the area opens into a generous, welcoming, and light-filled subterranean space. Visitors descend through a choreographed procession of compressed and expansive spaces leading to a bright and spacious reception.
- Diane Phillips; IBI Group
- Heather Semple; IBI Group
- Carol Phillips; Moriyama & Teshima Architects
- Greg Woltman; Adjeleian Allen Rubeli Ltd.
- Frédérick Dionne; Pageau Morel et associés inc.
Award of Merit: Urban Infill (Low Rise)
The strong, simple and clear architecture of this new office building in Barrhaven presents a positive contemporary image from the neighbouring highway, establishing a gateway building at the entrance to a mixed-use area.
- Christopher Simmonds Architect, Architect
- Lashley & Associates, Landscape Architect
- Cleland Jardine Engineering Ltd.
- Tomlinson Group, Owner & General Contractor
- Ottawa Business Interiors, Furniture & Furniture Layout
- TAL – CO, Construction Managers
Award of Merit: Urban Infill (Low Rise)
Canada's Four Corners Rehabilitation
This challenging conservation project ensured that the local identity of the urban core of Ottawa was maintained by giving the City back one of its hidden landmarks. The completion of this project reintegrated the historic exterior with the pedestrian scale of Sparks Street; reinforcing the existing street wall with the removal of the overhead protection. The restoration of the 1916 storefront windows reinstates pedestrian interaction and views, adding to the lively and historical public realm context of Sparks Street.
- Cristina Ureche-Trifu, Robert Martin; Robertson Martin Architects
- Chris Vopni, John Cooke; John G. Cooke and Associates
- Craig Sims
- Trevor Gillingwater
- Ellis Don
- Heritage Grade
- Public Services and Procurement Canada
Award of Merit: Urban Infill (Mid to High Rise)
Ottawa Art Gallery Expansion
The new Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG) building creates a new civic and cultural destination for Ottawa and the region. The new gallery realizes a decade-long dream for a signature, stand-alone, state-of-the-art museum-standard space. For the first time in its history it is now visible in the city. The tight footprint and siting in the space between the heritage Ottawa Arts Court building, the University of Ottawa Black Box Theatre and the Le Germain Hotel/ArtHaus Condominiums tower inspired a vertical campus scheme, which in turn created previously unimagined opportunities for memorable and inspiring views and vistas of the downtown.
- Barry Padolsky Associates Inc.;
- KPMB Architects;
- Cleland Jardine Engineering Ltd.;
- Goodkey, Weedmark & Associates Ltd.;
- Gabriel MacKinnon; MCLD Inc.;
- Lashley + Associates;
- Delcan; Morrison Hershfield Ltd.;
- EBC Inc.;
- Groupe Germain;
- Régis Côté et Associés;
- Pasquin St Jean et Associés;
- Dupras Ledoux Ingénieurs;
- Denis Massie, Architecte Paysagiste Inc.
Award of Merit: Urban Infill Mid-High Rise
University of Ottawa STEM Complex
Sitting as a landmark with “Les Yeux” facing the Rideau Canal, this complex stitches together the downtown campus public realm by defining a series of indoor and outdoor pedestrian routes.
- Safdar Abidi; Perkins and Will
- Andrew Frontini; Perkins and Will
- Matt Johnston; Perkins and Will
- Lashley & Associates
Award of Merit: Public Places & Civic Spaces
Jim Tubman Chevrolet Sens Rink
This new open air, multipurpose community recreational facility includes a covered structure with angular full height chevron braces and a tapered reflective roof line intended to evoke images of skating on a fractured outdoor pond on a winter’s day. Its multi-coloured, dynamic lighting also signals the facility’s location within the wooded park at night, allowing it to best serve as a central gathering spot for park users.
- Keith Dickie; N45 Architecture Inc.
- Gerry Mallette; N45 Architecture Inc.
- Robert Matthews; N45 Architecture Inc.
- Neil Johnston; AAR
- Garry Vopni; AAR
- Marietta Rhuland; Ruhland & Associates Ltd.
- Rob Lefebvre; Goodkey, Weedmark & Associates Limited
- Richard Boivin; Goodkey, Weedmark & Associates Limited
- Sarah McLaughlin; Jp2g Consultants Inc.
- Roxanne Tubb; Jp2g Consultants Inc.
Award of Merit: Public Places & Civic Spaces
Rockcliffe Park Fieldhouse
Realized as a result of substantial community effort, this beautiful wood fieldhouse and sports pad has been happily received and extensively used by the community and the area schools. The building includes a small kitchen, bathrooms, an indoor gathering space, and indoor and outdoor seating.
- Jelle De Roeck; Linebox Studio
- Shawn Malhotra; Claridge Homes
- Lucien Haddad; NEUF Architects
- Louise Malhotra
Award of Merit: Visions and Master plans
Booth District Redevelopment
The master plan for the Booth Street District envisions a mixed-use space in the heart of the Preston/Carling neighbourhood that uses a vibrant and engaging public realm to create a distinct sense of place. With a fine-grained network of mid-block connections, walkways, and shared streets, the new public realm will tie together a unique mix of heritage and contemporary buildings. Booth District will establish a world-class model for developing heritage sites in creative new ways.
- Mary Jarvis; Canada Lands Company
- Craig Sklenar; Stantec
- Molly Smith; Stantec
- David Krajeafski; Stantec (Retired)
- Victoria Angel; ERA Architects Inc.
Award of Merit: Visions and Master plans
ByWard Market - Reclaiming City Streets for People
This proposal sets out a vision for the ByWard Market and seeks to understand the context of the ByWard Market as it exists today, where conflict occurs between the movement of people, cars and the needs of merchants, vendors and tourists. The master plan concludes with a series of renderings and design proposals for how to reclaim public space for people, create the mixed use density needed to add jobs, homes and commercial space and make a #betterbyward.
- Toon Dreessen; Architects DCA Inc.
- Lina Dreessen; Architects DCA Inc.
Award of Merit: Student Project
Black Box Theatre on Nepean Point
A proposed Black box theatre, amphitheatre, and park revitalization provide with new and unique ways to enjoy and experience Nepean point. The current condition of the existing outdoor theatre at the point has been deemed unsafe for use. The improved theatre program on the site will host an indoor 300-seat theatre with supporting facilities, an outdoor amphitheatre, and an open pavilion whose footprint speaks to the geology of Nepean Point.
- John Vieira; Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism, Carleton University
- Vedad Haghighi; Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism, Carleton University
Award of Merit: Student Project
Sesquicentennial Waves - Brewer Park Pool
Just like the ancient Roman baths, the vision for a new Brewer Park Pool facility is an elevated and playful civic space rooted in the principle of community engagement. The long span structure frames a vast shared area in which people come together to bathe, swim, dive, exercise, race, and play.
- Guillermo Bourget Morales; Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism, Carleton University
- Janine Debanne (Mentor); Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism, Carleton University
Award of Merit: Community Initiatives
Nanny Goat Hill Community Garden
Following soil risk management, this site was restored as the Nanny Goat Hill Community Garden, demonstrating that soils can be managed and repurposed for a community garden, and made accessible to differently abled people without removing existing trees.
- James Lennox; James B. Lennox & Associates
- Kevin Hicks; WOOD
- Denis Malouin; D&R Maintenance Solutions
- David Kiar; City of Ottawa, Environmental Remediation
- Joanne Moran; City of Ottawa
- Rick Hall; D&R Maintenance Solutions
Enter an Award Submission
For more information regarding the Ottawa Urban Design Awards, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Urban Infill
- Low rise (1-4 storeys )
- Mid to high rise (5+ storeys)
A building or group of buildings, of high architectural standard, that achieves urban design excellence and creativity due to a thorough and sensitive understanding of the context, site plan, massing and pedestrian amenities. The building(s) will enhance the urban fabric of the neighbourhood.
All types of buildings are eligible, whether landmark or background, new construction or a restoration/transformation. Building types may be mainstreet, mixed-use, residential (detached, attached, multi-unit), commercial, institutional or industrial.
2. Public Places and Civic Spaces
A place defined by adjacent buildings or a natural area or park that exhibits sustainability, and that enhances, extends and embellishes an accessible public realm. These shall be public indoor or outdoor spaces and may include streets, courtyards, plazas, forecourts, trails, parks, bridges, streetscapes and mews.
3. Urban Elements
A designed piece or pieces of a building or landscape that makes a positive contribution to the character of the neighbourhood at a human scale. It adds amenity, enhances the public experience and contributes to the quality and accessibility of the environment. Urban Elements can include an innovative solution that embodies the principles of universal design and may be street furniture, permanent works of art, doorways, gateways, fountains, railings, façades, light fixtures, canopies, walkways and signage, etc.
4. Visions and Master Plans
Studies and master plans are inspiring, trend setting and significant for the future development of the City. A vision for the City.
5. Community Initiatives - A new award offered in 2019
A built project, however modest, that highlights the power of community action and / or community engagement. An exceptional project in this category will demonstrate the roles of the community and design in generating a dialogue on local issues such as environmental sustainability, mobility, inclusivity, social consciousness, and quality of life. Projects in this category are initiated or implemented by a community member or organization and will demonstrate their role as a steward, educator, and community builder. The project may be related to streetscaping, programming, public art, commemoration, environmental stewardship or cultural interpretation, and will be inspiring, imaginative, educational, or aspirational.
6. Student Projects
A theoretical or studio project that specifically relates to Ottawa. Students that attend universities offering degrees in architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning and industrial design can submit an entry.
Different types of projects completed between September 1, 2017 and September 1, 2019 are eligible:
- Buildings (residential, mixed-use, recreational, commercial, institutional and industrial)
- Building additions and exterior renovations
- Parks and open spaces
- Civic structures
- Public utilities
- Street improvements
- Public art
The following projects are NOT eligible for the Urban Design Awards:
- Building interiors
- Private spaces (i.e. private gardens, backyards, rooftops, etc.)
- Incomplete projects or plans
- Projects or plans located outside of the City of Ottawa
- Heritage and historic preservation, and adaptive re-use projects (these should be directed to the Ottawa Heritage Awards, deadline will be in fall 2020)
The competition is open to urban designers, planners, landscape architects, architects, engineers, developers, artists, contractors, consultants, landowners, community groups, students and the public who have contributed to Ottawa’s urban design landscape.
Judging and Jury Members
Submissions for the Ottawa Urban Design Awards will be juried on September 5, 2019 by an independent panel of urban design experts. The applicant of the winning project will be notified on September 20th, 2019 by e-mail. Winners will be presented with their award at an evening ceremony in October 2019, date to be confirmed by invitation. It is the responsibility of the winning applicant to inform all team members of their winning project, including the landowner, and to attend the awards event.
An Award of Excellence may be presented in each category to an outstanding project. A maximum of 3-framed awards will be presented per project. Additional unframed certificates will be available upon request. Winning projects of an Award of Excellence will be sent forward as the Ottawa entry to the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada’s Urban Design Awards competition in 2020.
A Certificate of Merit may also be presented in each category of projects deserving recognition. More than one Certificate of Merit can be awarded in each category and a maximum of 3-framed awards per project will be presented. Additional unframed certificates will be available upon request.
Important Note: The number and type of award given is at the discretion of the jury and their decision is final. The jury has the right not to present awards in every category and can reallocate an entry into another category (instead of the one that it was submitted in) if deemed appropriate.
Partner, OC, OAA, FRAIC, AIA, RIBA
Bruce Kuwabara is an influential practitioner and advocate of architectural excellence with expertise creating and communicating compelling design visions that catalyze stakeholders and the wider community. His unwavering belief in the power of architecture to implement social and civic change and maximize cultural, environmental and economic potential has earned him an Officer of the Order of Canada, the RAIC Gold Medal and the Ontario Association of Architects Lifetime Achievement Award.
Exemplary projects include the LEED Platinum Manitoba Hydro Place in Winnipeg, the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, the Julis Romo Rabinowitz Building and Louis A. Simpson International Building at Princeton University, Canada’s National Ballet School, the Canadian Museum of Nature, and the Global Centre for Pluralism in Ottawa. Recent completed works include the Remai Modern Art Gallery of Saskatchewan and the Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics at the University of Pennsylvania.
Bruce serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal, is a member of the Design Review Committee for the University of Toronto, and is the former chair of Waterfront Toronto’s Design Review Panel. In fall 2016, Bruce was the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Laws (honoris causa) degree from McMaster University.
Heather Rolleston, B.Arch.
Principal and Design Director, Quadrangle
Heather is an architectural designer and is a principal and design director at Quadrangle. She has over 20 years of experience designing, leading and managing a wide range of projects from the residential, mixed-use, master plan and commercial sectors. A graduate of the University of Toronto Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, she continues to be involved in academia as a guest critic at her alma mater as well as at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture.
Heather’s work has been recognized with a number of awards including the RAIC Governor General’s Medal in Architecture and the RIBA International Award for the Terrence Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research.
As a member of the Urban Land Institute’s Women’s Leadership Initiative Championship Team and through her involvement with Building Equality in Architecture Toronto, Heather lends her voice to advocate for gender equality in the architectural profession.
Heather is also sitting member of the City of Toronto’s Design Review Panel.
Julie St-Arnault, Landscape Architect and Senior Urban Designer
AAPQ, CSLA, IFLA, OALA, ADUQ
Julie St-Arnault holds a degree in landscape architecture from the Université de Montréal. In 1999, she and Micheline Clouard jointly established Vlan, a firm that specializes in landscape architecture, urban design and land use planning. Ms. St-Arnault’s practice is characterized by sensitive and bold creations that engage with the meaning of a place in order to develop the site with its context in mind. She and her team undertake projects within a multidisciplinary context, seeking to express the historical, social, cultural, natural and built layers that make up a space through creations that are enduring, original and innovative. Vlan’s major accomplishments include the Redford Gardens, the Jardin des Curiosités in Lyon, the campus of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the St. Joseph’s Oratory and Place des Arts esplanade redevelopment projects, the reception centre at the Parc national du Mont-Tremblant, the Arboretum interpretation trail at Montreal’s Jardin botanique, the Milieu humide installation at the entrance to Nuns' Island, the Escales découvertes project on Mount Royal, and several projects on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. She is currently part of the team of consultants leading the Sparks Street redevelopment project in Ottawa. Julie St-Arnault has also worked on the Chabanel Street and Saint-Viateur East Sector projects, as well as on several master plans for redeveloping urban streets. She regularly teaches university courses. From 2009 to 2016, she served as a member of the Conseil du patrimoine de Montréal. She has received multiple awards for her work from the professional community.
People's Choice Award Submissions
New this year, the Ottawa Urban Design Awards will present a People’s Choice Award (PCA) to recognize the public’s favourite built project.
Vote for your favourite project!
August 26 to September 6, 2019
The competition is now closed. The City would like to thank everyone who participated. The project receiving the most votes will be the winner of the award. The winner of the People’s Choice Award will be notified on September 20, 2019 by email. The winner will be announced online and the award will be presented at the gala.