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Calgary awards celebrate city’s design achievements

Russell Hixson
Calgary awards celebrate city’s design achievements
CITY OF CALGARY — West Eau Claire Park was developed on the banks of the Bow River in Calgary after devastating floods. The project was honoured at the Mayor’s Urban Design Awards this year for implementing functional and beautiful public space along side flood mitigation infrastructure.

The City of Calgary has announced the winners of the 2019 Mayor’s Urban Design Awards (MUDA)

Every two years, the city seeks out the important contributions of designers, architects and artists that help improve the quality of life in Calgary through art and design.

“Recognizing the people behind our vibrant buildings and spaces in our city is important,” said David Down, the city’s chief urban designer, in a press release. “Well-designed space makes people feel welcome, improves safety and accessibility and creates a memorable sense of place.”

Ninety-eight submissions were judged in twelve categories that showcase some of the most innovative buildings and public spaces in Calgary. In addition, all citizens were encouraged to vote for the People’s Choice award, online.

Käthe Lemon, editor-in-chief of Calgary’s Avenue Magazine, was part of this year’s panel of judges. She explained how the city has tailored the awards to reflect Calgary, elevate overlooked design and generate discussion about the built environment.

“The city itself has directed some of the categories and has added quite a few in addition to the ones that come from National Urban Design Awards,” said Lemon. “For example, there’s an award called The Mawson, named after one of the first urban designers in Calgary. Their project never saw the light of day, but they have been very influential in show what can a city be and what makes a good city.”

Other categories celebrate conceptual designs that haven’t been built but are still pushing the envelop. Lemon also praised the city’s addition of the City Edge Development Award.

“The National Urban Design Awards focus on urban design but the city wanted to say, I think, is that great design can exist on the edge of a city,” Lemon said. “I think through those awards the city has been able to promote the best of what they are seeing.”

Lemon said she and the other judges were particularly impressed with West Eau Claire Park. The park, redeveloped after devastating floods, features pedestrian paths, bicycle paths, an architectural delta and art by local artists.

“What’s fascinating is that it’s a beautiful space along the river,” said Lemon. “It’s an area that needed to be developed following the floods, but what many might not know is that it very cleverly integrates flood mitigation efforts. If you walk through, you notice a beautiful space that plays off the landscape. The design ties into the ideas of river and water, but its levels also functionally protect the city. It is a combination of functional and beautiful space and it is very well used. Calgarians really feel it reflects their needs and it has a beautiful art piece integrated into it.”

The design incorporates flood mitigation elements like a flood wall with a bench, a raised promenade and cycle path and stepped terraces. The architectural delta, called the Delta Garden, is also a flood barrier integrated with raised topography and planters.

Lemon explained that in addition to celebrating Calgary design, the awards are an opportunity to get input from residents and experts about the direction the built environment is going in.

“Without an event this there is no reason to talk about buildings or what makes a successful landscape or design,” said Lemon. “It’s an opportunity to talk about direction the built environment is going, it’s an opportunity to be proud.”

Lemon added that with so many negative stories coming out of Alberta, it is good to celebrate the positive things.

“We are moving things forward, celebrating things built, things that are successful, and things conceived of. This also improves the design language Calgarians have. This is a conversation, but you also get to pick things. You get to say what good design for your city is.”

Here is the full list of winners and honourable mentions:


Conceptual/Theoretical Urban Design Projects

WINNER: 5th Street Underpass Enhancement

Owner: The City of Calgary

Architect: DIALOG & Jill Anholt Studio


Urban Design Plans

WINNER: 9th Avenue SE Master Plan

Owner: The City of Calgary

Architect: DIALOG

Honourable Mention: Rivers District Master Plan

Owner: Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC)

Lead Urban Designer/Landscape Architect: Civitas Inc.


Urban Architecture

WINNER: YW Calgary Hub Facility

Owner: YW Calgary

Architect: Kasian Architecture Interior Design

Landscape Architects: Scatliff+Miller+Murray

Honourable Mention: Noble

Owner: Truman Development Corporation

Planner: CivicWorks

Architects: S2 Architecture

Landscape Architects: Navagrah Landscape Architecture + Urban Design, HDR

Honourable Mention: Park Point

Owner: Qualex-Landmark

Architects: IBI/HB Architects


Civic Design Projects

WINNER: West Eau Claire Park

Owner: The City of Calgary

Architect: O2 Planning + Design

Honourable Mention: The Fourth Street SW Underpass Enhancement

Owner: The City of Calgary

Architects: the marc boutin architectural collaborative


Urban Fragments

WINNER: Delta Garden + The City Unseen

Artists: Caitland r.c. Brown & Wayne Garett

Landscape Architects: O2 Planning + Design

Honourable Mention: BRT Transitway Stations

Owner: The City of Calgary – Transit

Architects: GEC Architecture


Community Initiatives Award

WINNER: Beltline Urban Murals Project (BUMP)

Owner: Beltline Neighbourhoods Association

Project Designers: Peter Schryvers & Peter Oliver

Honourable Mention: Gopher Park

Project Designer: Community Partnership led by Cold Garden Brewery and Inglewood BIA

Honourable Mention: 17 Avenue SW Pocket Square

Owner: Cliff Bungalow/Mission Community Association and Calgary Board of Education

Designers: The Bench Project

Landscape Architects: Ground Cubed


The Mawson Urban Design Award

WINNER: New Central Library

Owner: The City of Calgary

Designers: Snøhetta & DIALOG

Honourable Mention: The Livery

Owner: Ansonia Properties

Architects: Modern Office of Design + Architecture


City Edge Development

WINNER: West District Master Plan

Owner: Truman Development CorporationPlanner: CivicWorks

Architects: S2 Architecture

Landscape Architects: Navagrah Landscape Architecture + Urban Design, HDR

Honourable Mention: Attabotics HQ

Owner: Attabotics Inc.

Architects: Modern Office of Design + Architecture

Honourable Mention: Joane Cardinal-Schubert High School

Owner: Calgary Board of EducationArchitects: Gibbs Gage Architects

Honourable Mention: University of Calgary Veterinary Medicine Clinical Skills Building Expansion

Owner: University of Calgary

Architects: Stantec Consulting Ltd.


Great City, Great Design

WINNER: The Sunalta Community Hub

Owner: The City of Calgary and Sunalta Community Association

Architects: the marc boutin architectural collaborative

Honourable Mention: Vecova Centre For All Abilities

Owner: Vecova

Architect: GEC Architecture

Honourable Mention: East Village Dog Park

Owner: Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC)

Project Designer: Stantec Consulting Ltd.


Green City

WINNER: Mackimmie Complex And Professional Facilities Building Redevelopment Project

Owner: University of Calgary

Architect: DIALOG


Housing Innovation

WINNER: Rosedale Affordable Housing

Owner: The City of Calgary – Affordable HousingArchitect: FAAS Architecture

Honourable Mention: LifeOwner: RNDSQR

Architect: 5468796 Architecture

Planner CivicWorks

Honourable Mention: Cube

Owner: Strategic Group

Architects: Zeidler Architects


Student Projects

WINNER: Reimagine Catwalks

Designers: Leticia Chapa & Taylor Felt

Honourable Mention: Transitioning: Streetcar Reminiscence Plaza

Designer: Thu Ngo

Honourable Mention: Connectivity

Designer: Raiyan UI Momin


People’s Choice Awards:

Personal Care Building

Architect: FarMor Architecture

New Central Library

Architects: Snøhetta + DIALOG

The Ivy

Owner: Brookfield Residential

Designer: Stantec Consulting Ltd


Owner: Attabotics Inc

Architect: Modern Office of Design + Architecture

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