In Canada the G-Gs are a big deal, the best buildings of the year. Run by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, the the choice of a jury is often interesting as well; this year it included a TreeHugger regular, Todd Saunders. Of the dozen winners there are a few of particular interest to TreeHugger, and a few that have been shown on TreeHugger before.
"The recipients of these awards are among Canada's finest architects," said His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada. "I'm delighted to see such deserving projects being recognized and I offer my sincere congratulations to the recipients."
BC Passive House Factory, Hemsworth Architecture
Of course I am going to lead off with the BC passive house factory, because it is so unusual for an industrial building to win a design award like this. We covered it before on TreeHugger, Factory built of wood is energy-efficient, healthy, and beautiful.. The jury's comment:
The factory is both a demonstration of the possibilities of wood for ordinary industrial structures, and a home for an innovative industry producing panels for building. The architect has considered every detail, from the wood structure and panelized roof, to the sloped larch and fir screens, to the beautifully finished interiors. The jury was impressed by the speed in which the building’s super structure was constructed: a mere eight days. BC Passive House Factory proves that modest structures can be extraordinary examples of architecture.
Nathan Phillips Square Revitalization, PLANT Architect Inc. / Perkins+Will
The renovation of Toronto's Nathan Phillips Square was a difficult job for PLANT architects and Perkins + Will, because the space is so iconic and important to Torontonians; my desktop background is actually a photo from its opening party in 1965. They did a terrific job, with the spectacular green roof covered on TreeHugger a few times.
Nathan Phillips Square has long been the symbolic center of the city, but was too often left empty or littered with temporary structures. The courageous renovation and reprogramming of the square now makes it one of most sought after public spaces in Toronto. Carefully balancing Viljo Revell’s original design with new additions to support active uses in all seasons, it has become a hyper-democratic place. With purposefully designed spaces allowing people to unwind or be active, engage in collective experiences or seek solitude, the square accommodates many different users and uses. What makes this project so great is that it preserves the essentials of this historic square while adapting it for future generations. The jury commends the architects, and city of Toronto for realizing this project, which has created one of the most outstanding public spaces in Canada.
Wood Innovation and Design Centre,MGA | Michael Green Architecture
We have been all over this one, the tallest wood building in North America (for the next few minutes anyway) designed by Mr. Tall Wood himself, Michael Green. See A look at Michael Green's Wood Innovation Design Centre
This Centre celebrates wood as a handsome and sustainable material, and demonstrates its viability for tall buildings. It is more than just a technological experiment; the project combines intelligence, beauty, and innovation in its approach to features such as the engineered wood curtain wall system, interior finishes, and modulation of sunlight. The jury applauds this exceptional structure that exhibits one of the unique contributions made to design and construction research in Canada and beyond.
Regent Park Aquatic Centre, MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects
I have always admired the work of this firm, and this pool does have an impressive green roof "designed as a fifth elevation integrating with the building features and park setting." But I thought this feature would be of interest to American readers:
The aquatic centre is the first facility in Canada to adopt the singular use of universal change rooms, no longer separating males and females, rather common change rooms with private change cubicles. This establishes equality; addressing cultural and gender identity issues, while also enhancing the openness, safety, and visibility through the entire complex.
While the jury commends the many fine aquatic and recreational centres that it reviewed in other Canadian cities, Regent Park Aquatic Centre stands out. This facility is sensitively connected to its surroundings, and replaces an outdoor pool that had been the neighborhood centre for many years. Open and transparent, it invites passersby and those using the adjacent park into its grand space that houses a sparkling pool and recreational facilities. It is a pavilion in the best sense, elevating the activities and making them accessible. The green roof is the building’s fifth façade, completing Regent Park’s green environment.
See all of the winners at the RAIC.