A Montreal-based company is $50,000 richer after winning the top prize at Sudbury 2050, an international urban design ideas competition that drew competitors from 28 countries.
Collectif Escargo’s design is patterned on three themes: unite, regenerate and revive. It won in the Open category, competing against about 70 other teams from as far away as India.
The Collectif’s design, called Sève, translates from French to mean sap.
“The idea was like sap flowing: they would start with one idea, pick up with the existing, make new connections,” says Terrance Galvin, a professor and the founding director of Laurentian University’s McEwen School of Architecture.
The competition was initiated by the school in collaboration with various community groups in Sudbury, Ont.
The idea was to invite creative individuals or teams to respond to a design challenge of creating a regenerative future vision for the urban core of a mid-sized northern Canadian city, Galvin says.
“It was a visionary competition trying to capture the imagination of the public.”
The Collectif’s Julie Parenteau says the group was surprised and elated by its win.
“All the finalists’ proposals were rich, very well made,” she says.
Parenteau says the team of four designers was drawn to the competition because the agenda called for a collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach.
“It put together all of the things that are very dear to us such as bringing nature massively into urban life and giving a voice to the citizens in the process.”
It also called for sensitivity to the built heritage and the creation of open spaces for art, she says.
Galvin says the 100 or so competitors, including 30 in the student category, met the objective of a visionary competition.
“You want people to be thinking not just about the immediate moment but what is sustainable in the long term (30 years).”
Galvin calls the entries “a gift” to the city.
“Each project has a lot of potentially viable ideas.”
He will work with Blaine Nicholls, fellow professional adviser at Laurentian, to create a catalog comprising a synthesis of the entries. Segments of the winning schemes could be implemented soon, such as regreening laneways and turning areas into pedestrian zones.
Galvin adds a summary of the entries’ main ideas will be presented to city council early next year to be used as part of Sudbury’s next masterplan exercise.
While the $50,000 prize money is “significant,” the Collectif has not decided what to do with it. Parenteau says the award is important because it provides peer-recognition for the team.
Collectif Escargo, which was formed five years ago, is currently working on a winter outdoor shadow theatre installation this winter for the City of Montreal.
The competition also had 30 individuals and groups competing in a student category. The winning team from Sudbury took home $10,000.
Galvin says a common thread between the open and student category winners is that they built with the existing city fabric, rather than demolish and start over.
Among the sponsors of the competition was the Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario and Element5, a mass timber design/manufacturer.