The city of Vancouver will honor achievements in architecture and urban design this September with the first ever Vancouver Urban Design Awards.
Brian Jackson, general manager for the city’s planning and development services, said while there are awards at the provincial, national and international level, there is nothing locally to honour accomplishments.
Jackson started a similar program when he was working for the city of Richmond and decided to transplant the idea to Vancouver. The awards will be held every two years.“I noticed for a city the size of Vancouver we haven’t celebrated our own architecture and design, I thought it would be a good time to celebrate,” Jackson said. The awards coverage a broad scope of work.
The buildings category includes residential, commercial and public buildings.
The urban elements category includes small elements such as street furniture, lighting, memorials, public art or other forms of intervention that contribute to the enhancement, sustainability, enjoyment, or appreciation of the urban environment.
There is an award for open space like atriums, parks and plazas.
Sustainable design will also being honoured with an award.
Finally, a special jury prize will highlight exceptional achievement.
The awards will be determined by a five-judge panel. Applicants must have completed the project by Jan. 1, 2012.
“They are really looking for those gems in the city,” Jackson said. “There’s a lot happening around this city and people forget it.”
Jackson said the city is full of amazing projects that should be recognized.
He mentioned the Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel and a reinvigorated heritage home near Commercial Drive as some of the structures that make the city unique.
“It is just a wonderful opportunity to get the good news out there about what architects and designers are doing great things,” Jackson said.