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Best designed projects earn accolades for British Columbia architects

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by Bradley Fehr last update:May 27, 2009

The best architectural projects in British Columbia were recently given their due at an awards gala in Vancouver.
Arts & Social Sciences 1 and Blusson Hall at Simon Fraser University
Arts & Social Sciences 1 and Blusson Hall at Simon Fraser University

Architectural Institute of British Columbia

The best architectural projects in British Columbia were recently given their due at an awards gala in Vancouver.

The Architectural Institute of British Columbia’s (AIBC) Architectural Awards were handed out at the tail end of the institute’s annual conference.

“This year, we saw outstanding work that truly spanned the spectrum of architecture,” said Pierre Gallant, incoming AIBC president. “From big university complexes and public libraries, right down to washrooms and electrical fixtures, B.C. architects continue to do outstanding work.”

This year, a record 53 submissions were judged by a panel of industry experts.

Two projects earned top honours and Lieutenant-Governor Award in Architecture Medals.

The Arts & Social Sciences 1 and Blusson Hall at Simon Fraser University, a project by Busby Perkins+Will, earned the prestigious medal. The lead architect on the project was Peter Busby.

It is a new multi-faculty development, where the architect created an interconnected environment, both physically and philosophically, for several distinct academic departments.

“There’s a really deft hand at work here. It’s a robust concrete structure with a beautiful scale,” the jury commented.

A less conventional project earned the same honour.

The Kensington Park, Robert Burnaby Park and Swalwell Park washrooms by Bruce Carscadden Architect Inc. also took home the lieutenant-governor’s medal.

The design team was made up of Bruce Carscadden, Ian McDonald and Glen Stokes.

The project consists of three B.C. public park washrooms, where the design has been described as each embracing a small buildings matter philosophy, proving that architectural excellence can flourish in any setting.

“These are reserved, yet durable structures. They also bring to play the aspect of delight,” said the jury.

Three more projects earned Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia Merit Awards.

The Chimo Aquatic and Fitness Centre in South Coquitlam by architects Hughes Condon Marler with lead design architect Roger Hughes was one winner.

The North Vancouver City Library earned another for Diamond and Schmitt Architects Incorporated and CEI Architecture Planning Interiors with lead design architects A.J. Diamond, Paul Szaskiewicz and Sid Johnson.

The third Merit Award and second for the firm went to architects Hughes Condon Marler for the Whistler Public Library with lead design architect Darryl Condon.

Three other dynamic projects earned awards.

The AIBC Innovation Award went to ‘22’ Series by intern architect Omer Arbel, for Bocci. The ‘22’ Series is a suite of electrical accessories that does away with the traditional, ubiquitous and tired plate covers that come with power receptacles, switches, thermostats and phone lines.

“I believe this is, as architects, what we should be looking at. Until we get down to this, we won’t have control over the ultimate details of a building. This is brand new,” the jury commented.

The 2009 AIBC Special Jury Award was presented to Synergy, the first phase of Victoria’s Dockside Green community development by Busby Perkins+Will, with lead architect Peter Busby.

The 10,000 square meters of mixed-used property includes nine-storey and six-story residential buildings with ground floor commercial space, a four-story residential building and a two story townhouse.

The project, which sets new standards for civil and mechanical work, earned LEED Platinum certification, making it the most sustainable community in the country.

“This is a benchmark project of the past twenty years. It demonstrates how to respond to a client,” said the jury.

A new award was also added to this year’s festivities.

The first-ever AIBC Emerging Firm Award went to JWT Architecture and Planning and its principal James W. Tuer.

It is a two-person firm based on Bowen Island.

The jury said that the company understands the values of maintaining a good firm, design excellence, and client relationships.

The awards recognized eight outstanding projects and firms.

“The AIBC awards program is about more than peer recognition,” said Gallant. “It recognizes the key role that architects play in shaping our communities and the growing reputation that B.C. architects have gained around the world.”

The winners are:
Lieutenant-Governor Award in Architecture Medals:

• The Arts & Social Sciences 1 and Blusson Hall at Simon Fraser University, a project by Busby Perkins+Will
• The Kensington Park, Robert Burnaby Park and Swalwell Park washrooms by Bruce Carscadden Architect Inc.
Lieutenant-Governor Merit Awards:
• The Chimo Aquatic and Fitness Centre by Hughes Condon Marler
• The North Vancouver City Library by Diamond and Schmitt Architects Incorporated and CEI Architecture Planning Interiors
• Whistler Public Library by Hughes Condon Marler
AIBC Innovation Award:
• ‘22’ Series by intern architect Omer Arbel, for Bocci
AIBC Special Jury Award:
• Dockside Green – Synergy by Busby Perkins+Will
AIBC Emerging Firm Award:
• JWT Architecture and Planning

last update:May 27, 2009

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