On October 24, the City of Calgary celebrated architectural and urban design excellence with the presentation of the eighth biannual Mayor’s Urban Design Awards (MUDAs). The New Central Library not only hosted the event, but also received the Mawson Urban Design Award, given to a building that achieves urban design excellence and creativity through awareness of the Calgary context.
The MUDAs are given out every two years, and in the alternating years the local winners go on to compete at the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada’s National Urban Design Awards if they are eligible for a category in that competition.
Over the years since the program began in 2005, the MUDAs have added a number of categories to the local competition, creating opportunities to celebrate particular areas of design excellence here in Calgary.
The Mawson award, named for Thomas Mawson creator of the first civic design plan for the city, is one such addition. Another is the City Edge Development award, which celebrates great urban design on the periphery of Calgary and ensure the focus of the awards was not only on the downtown.
Despite what the name might imply, the MUDAs are not in fact selected by the mayor but rather by a jury, and this year I had the pleasure of sitting on the judging panel for the awards.
The judges received the entries with the names of the architects and designers redacted, and reviewed them. Then we came together for a full day of discussion and debate before determining a winner and up to two honourable mentions for each category.
Calgarians also had the opportunity to weigh in on the projects by voting for the winner of the People’s Choice Award both online and in-person in the Central Library.
A couple of firms walked away with multiple wins. Dialog who won with projects in Urban Design Plans, Conceptual or Theoretical Design, The Mawson Urban Design Award and Green City. Marc Boutin Architectural Collaborative and Modern Office of Design + Architecture (MoDA) also received multiple nods.
Calgarians don’t always agree on what good design or good architecture is. But encouraging the conversation and celebrating some of the greatest examples helps us move toward a shared set of ideas as well as a higher set of expectations for design in the city. MUDA helps to remind us that great design does in fact live here in Calgary.
The Winners of the 2019 Mayor’s Urban Design Awards
Attabotics HQ; Attabotics, Modern Office of Design + Architecture
New Central Library; The City of Calgary, Snohetta, Dialog
The Ivy; Brookfield Residential, Stantec Ltd.
Personal Care Building; Wale Gbalajobi, FarMor Architecture
Conceptual or Theoretical Urban Design Projects
Winner: 5th Street Underpass Enhancement by Dialog, Jill Anholt Studio
Urban Design Plans
Winner: 9th Avenue S.E. Master Plan; Dialog
Winner: YW Calgary Hub; Kasian Architecture, Scatliff+Miller+Murray
Honourable Mention: Noble; Truman Development Corporation, S2 Architects, Navagrah Landscape Architecture + Urban Design
Park Point, Qualex-Landmark, IBI/HB Architects
Civic Design Projects
Winner: Delta Garden + the City Unseen; The City of Calgary, Caitlind r.c. Brown and Wayne Garrett, O2 Planning + Design
Honourable Mention: BRT Transitway Stations; The City of Calgary, GEC Architecture
Community Initiatives Award
Winner: Beltline Urban Murals Project (BUMP); Beltline Neighbourhoods Association, Peter Schryvers & Peter Oliver
Honourable Mentions: Gopher Park; Cold Garden Brewery, Inglewood BIA
17 Avenue SW Pocket Park, Cliff Bungalow/Mission Community Association, Calgary Board of Education, The Bench Project, Ground Cubed
Mawson Urban Design Award
City Edge Development
Winner: West District Master Plan; Truman Development Corporation, CivicWorks, S2 Architecture, Navagrah Landscape Architecture + Urban Design, HDR
Honourable Mention: Attabotics HQ; Attabotics Inc., Modern Office of Design + Architecture
Joane Cardina-Schubert High School; Calgary Board of Education, Gibbs Gage Architects
University of Calgary Veterinary Med Building Expansion; University of Calgary, Stantec Consulting Ltd.
Great City, Great Design
Winner: Sunalta Community Hub; The City of Calgary, Sunalta Community Associations, The Marc Boutin Architectural Collaborative
Honourable Mention: Vecova Centre for All Abilities; Vecova, GEC Architecture
East Village Dog Park; Calgary Municipal Land Corporation, Stantec Consulting Ltd.
Winner: Rosedale Affordable Housing; the City of Calgary – Affordable Housing, FAAS Architecture
Honourable Mention: LIFE; RNDSQR, 5468796 Architecture, CivicWorks
CUBE; Strategic Group, Zeildler Architecture
Winner: Reimagine Catwalks; Leicia Chapa, Taylor Felt
Honourable Mention: Transitioning: Streetcar Reminiscence Plaza; Thu Ngo
Connectivity; Raiyan Ul Momin