The best designed projects across Canada's prairie provinces were recently honoured during the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada's 2014 Festival of Architecture.
The Prairie Design Awards were held in conjunction with the opening night ceremonies of the festival at the yet unfinished Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Man.
Awards of Excellence and Awards of Merit were handed out in four different categories.
“The number of awards can vary depending on how the jury views the submissions,” said Annette Gargol, co-chair of the Prairie Design Awards committee and member of the Manitoba Architects Association.
“They can choose to award multiple awards based on the number of submissions.”
An Award of Excellence in the Recent Work category was presented for the University of Manitoba ART Lab, in Winnipeg.
The architect of record was LM Architectural Group/Associate and the design architect was Patkau Architects Inc.
The project is described as uniting the surrounding buildings through the insertion of a striking school of art against the backdrop of a former residence heritage building.
A curtain wall-clad volume, supported on a series of V-shaped concrete columns, addresses a quadrangle located at the heart of the campus.
The building program is distributed around a four-storey open stair volume that serves as both a social mixing space and way finding device.
The other Award of Excellence for Recent Work went to 5468796 Architecture Inc. for the Avenue on Portage, which is also in Winnipeg.
The project included the renovation of two historical commercial buildings located on Portage Avenue that had fallen into a state of decline.
It is comprised of residential space on the upper four floors and commercial space on the lower floors.
The residential units literally project outwards onto Portage Avenue through a series of mirror-polished aluminum-clad cantilevered balconies.
The at-grade commercial space is set back from the sidewalk, where its mirror-finished surfaces are described as helping animate the street.
Both projects were complete in 2012.
Awards of Merit for Recent Work were presented to Number Ten Architectural Group for Douglas Park School, in Regina, Sask., Stantec Architecture Ltd. for Graduate House at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Group2 Architecture Interior Design Ltd. for the Northgate Transit Centre in Edmonton Alberta and a joint venture between Hughes Condon Marler Architects and DUB Architects Ltd. for the Jasper Place Branch Library in Edmonton.
The Award of Excellence for a Small Project went to Peter Sampson Architecture Studio Inc. for the Assiniboine Park Washrooms in Winnipeg.
“We needed an architectural concept that was going to solve quickly and immediately, a very typical Winnipeg problem, which is the budget of building public infrastructure in a city like this,” said Peter Sampson.
“It’s a very expensive place to build.”
The simple public washroom is composed of three decommissioned shipping containers.
Portions of the original metal walls of the shipping containers are brightly painted and left exposed in the interior.
The exterior is clad with cedar and glass with brightly colored panels behind transparent glazed entries.
“We needed something that landed lightly on the landscape and we needed a concept that could be built off site in the winter and arrive at the public park in time for the Victoria Day long weekend,” Sampson said.
He added that his firm had experience working with shipping containers during a project at the University of Winnipeg.
The Award of Merit was presented to Liane Veness, Architect for the Fiskoist in Gimli, Man.
marc boutin architectural collaborative inc. took home the Award of Excellence in the Landscape Architecture category for The Landscape of Memory: Poppy Plaza in Calgary, Alta.
The pedestrian river walk, along the Bow River also serves as a setting to memorialize veterans from the First World War.
A series of spaces move the visitor through several grade changes from an upper roadway down to the riverbank.
Wood and folded steel components are integrated as surfaces, benches, frames and canopies.
The Award of Merit for a Small Project went to Straub Thurmayr CSLA Landschaftsarchitekten and Urban Designers for the Folly Forest in Winnipeg.
A single Award of Merit was presented in the Interior Design category.
It was presented to 5468796 Architecture Inc. for Manitoba Start in Winnipeg.
It was the firm’s second award of the evening.
The project provides arrival services to new immigrants in a revitalized heritage building.
To be eligible for the biannual Prairie Design Awards, projects must be located within Alberta, Saskatchewan or Manitoba and must have been completed in the last five years.
This year, 68 projects were entered into the design competition.
For a full list of winners, including project teams, additional photos of the winning projects and a video from the event visit www.journalofcommerce.com.