The biennial Hamilton Urban Design and Architecture Awards were handed out and the visuals are stunning
Published November 5, 2021 at 10:32 am
Hamilton’s biennial Urban Design and Architecture Awards were held Thursday (Nov. 4). It recognizes and celebrates the past two years of excellence in the design of the city’s urban environment.
The 2021 edition was held virtually.
“A high-quality urban environment contributes to economic and social benefits, improves the image of the city, and creates a sense of pride,” reads the official website for the awards. “A well-designed city is integral to developing a vibrant and sustainable community with a high quality of life.”
Owners, urban designers, architects, landscape architects, planners, contractors, engineers, consultants and students are invited and encouraged to submit projects.
“Exceptional design is integral to a vibrant and sustainable community,” said Jason Thorne, General Manager, Planning and Economic Development. “We are very pleased to celebrate this year’s urban design and architecture award winners and to thank them for the wonderful spaces, places and buildings that they have designed and built in our city.”
Eleven award winners in seven categories were chosen by this year’s jury:
Urban Elements winner: Procession
Ferguson Station is a heritage landmark in the Downtown Core of the City of Hamilton and is a reflection of the area’s rich history, culture and economic importance.
The trains that helped bring prosperity to the area, no longer regularly pass through the station. In its place are the daily processions of community people from various walks of life.
This mural honours the significant past of a once-bustling train station and visually communicates its present iteration as a community pathway and gathering area.
The diverse community represented in the mural is both appropriate and aspirational. The Jury enjoyed the inclusion of past present and future in the imagery, acknowledging the professional and comprehensive execution of the mural which integrates urban elements such as the power box in its thematic representation.
The deployment of the narrative compels the pedestrian to walk the length of the mural to grasp the entirety of the story.
250 King Street East, Hamilton
- Lester Coloma
- Salvation Army
- International Village BIA
- Core Urban Inc
Private Buildings – Residential winner: CONNECT Communities
A transitional residence for those recovering from acquired brain injuries or stroke – our client, Connect Communities Hamilton, is implementing a new treatment model in Ontario that assists their residents in a life redesign process. This treatment programme requested that traditional barrier-free code requirements be creatively avoided or hidden where possible, creating a definitively residential environment. The 42 bedrooms with accessible ensuites and communal living spaces are connected to amenity spaces and offices. A treatment room includes consideration for flooring and equipment as well as a ceiling-mounted patient lift to assist in client rehabilitation and fitness programs.
There is a satisfying spatial complexity to the design of the shared outdoor landscape and amenity space. The massing, visible from the street, invites discovery by neighbours. There are “good eyes on the street”.
The relationship between private balconies and terraces and the public walkways promotes respectable sociability while the detailing of the buildings is suitably robust and maps well to the use of the housing.
8 Columbus Gate, Stoney Creek
- DPAI Architecture Inc.
Private Buildings – Commercial/Industrial (1) winner: Olympic Club
The Olympia Club is a project located in Downtown Hamilton which combines two underutilized and decaying buildings in the Downtown core fronting on Gore Park. Once the home of Leslie’s Shoe Store, these two buildings are now home to fully restored and renovated office spaces on the second, third and fourth floors. The ground floor and mezzanine spaces offer commercial and restaurant opportunities. A rooftop patio offers an additional amenity area for the building’s tenants or an outdoor terrace for use by a ground floor restaurant. The floor-to-ceiling glass at the north and south facades allows natural light to flood through the spaces. This project has restored and replicated historic details like exposed brick and beams, stone cornices, mouldings and Art Deco railings.
The Jury welcomed the strategy of heritage renewal for the retention of Hamilton’s fine existing building stock. The re-introduction of large operable windows adds an appreciable texture to the sidewalk edge and enables rental units to access fresh air and natural ventilation.
The renewed elevation is a great investment onto Gore Park – which is an important transportation point Downtown. The attention to detail in the restoration is appreciated particularly in the masonry and window mullion profiles.
59 King Street East, Hamilton
- Core Urban Inc.
- Lintack Architects Inc.
- Kalos Engineering Inc.
- Habilis Engineering Inc.
- Seguin Engineering Inc.
- Webb Planning Consultants Inc.
Private Buildings – Commercial/Industrial (2) winner: The Gasworks Culture Centre
A sensitive renovation and addition to an existing 1850 heritage structure has doubled the size of this visionary non-profit community arts centre. By placing the addition at the rear of the property, the original structure’s street presence is maintained. A new cantilevered entrance canopy along the building’s north side is a subtle intervention that leads to the building’s new rear porch and entrance. Similarly, a projecting second-floor lantern-like room is visible from the street and offers a hint of the thoughtful modern rear addition and interior transformation. Restoration of the original structure’s exterior includes newly painted stucco and window frames, landscaping, and the removal and replacement of interlocking stone steps and porch.
The project is built around the Hamilton Music Collective and their ‘An Instrument for Every Child’ program, dedicated to nourishing youth self-esteem through the musical arts. It is also used as a church and rental event space.
The Jury was pleased to see a contemporary addition to an existing heritage building as an adaptive re-use strategy.
The re-working of the entry sequence, marking the new entry along the side yard and integrating an accessible ramp, is a laudable strategy. The scale of the addition is also noted for its sympathetic relationship to the immediate neighbours.
Address: 141 Park Street North, Hamilton
- TCA / Thier + Curran Architects Inc.
- The John and Ellie Voortman Charitable Foundation
- Mighton Engineering
- Ailmar Engineering
- CoPa Engineering Ltd.
Private Buildings – Mixed-Use winner: Bateson Lofts
This redevelopment upcycles a tired pair of mixed-use buildings into a new catalyst building contributing to the revival of hip Barton Village. The upper floors contain eight fully rebuilt rental apartments (from six originally), with exposed wood joists and roof decks in the upper units. Fire escapes were replaced with separated stairs, the building envelope was renewed, and all new services were provided throughout, all on a modest budget. The residential windows are lined with projecting sunshades decorated with random colours and dice patterns; along with the new storefront, they create a dynamic landmark.
Home to the notorious Gallery 435 Arts Centre (and speakeasy) from 1983-2018, this famed Hammer arts landmark was run by artist & visionary Ellis Bateson. The main floor is now home to the hip Mosaic Bar (and its alleyway patio), and to the unique retail hybrid of Dawson’s Hot Sauce Shop and Bike Locke.
This project represents a good example of urban renewal of existing, worn, architectural heritage stock.
The modesty of the front elevation creates compelling building elements that will add up to a new attractive public realm as the remainder of the block is renovated.
The redesigned ground floor, particularly the large glazed openings, the glazed tile, and new building lighting spilling onto the sidewalk, is appropriately scaled to engage the pedestrian realm. The Jury also commends the design attention to the corner treatment where the sidewalk widens into a safe amenity zone, harnessing the opportunity of the site.
435 Barton Street East, Hamilton
- TCA / Thier + Curran Architects Inc.
- BCHQ Barton Holding Inc
- Ailmar Engineering
- CoPa Engineering
- Mighton Engineering
Public Buildings winner: Hamilton Police Investigation Services Division Facility
The Hamilton Police Service’s new 65,000 square feet building provides proper forensic laboratory and office space for the Investigative Services Division. It was important for this facility to be located Downtown so that victims and witnesses have easy access to participate in ongoing investigations.
The design team worked in coordination with police leadership and community representatives to ensure the project added positively to the urban public realm. The building is situated at a slight bend in Wilson Street, a main east-west arterial through Downtown Hamilton. This geometry allowed the building to be set back with an accessible plaza, and for visitor parking to be screened behind a neighbouring building. The public plaza is adjacent to the Community Meeting Room and will include a future memorial. The architecture is expressed as a “transparent box” floating over the landscape. Low garden walls are stretching out from the building elevations to reinforce pedestrian routes.
The scale of the massing on the primary and secondary streets is well done.
The Jury applauds the lack of anti-sitting/skateboarding/inhibiting elements integrated on the tops of the retaining walls. This is a civic and inclusive gesture and communicates openness, particularly given the sensitive nature of the building type.
The plaza design mediates the change in elevation between the sidewalk and the front entrance to the building, contributing an appropriately scaled neighbourhood gathering place which the Jury hopes will be a community asset. Given the nature of the building, the procession is welcoming.
Address: 100 Wilson Street, Hamilton
- Stantec Architecture Ltd.
- City of Hamilton
- Hamilton Police Service
- McClaren Wilson Lawrie Inc. (Lab Specialists)
Open Spaces, Public Spaces and Green Infrastructure winner: Depaving Barton Village Boulevards – Creating Places for People and Pollinators
The idea to beautify Barton Village through Depave Paradise came in response to concerns around urban runoff and under-used, aging boulevards. It identified a unique opportunity to transform some of these small but mighty corners into something vibrant, alive and rewarding. To date, two boulevard ‘depaves’ have been completed and an additional site will be completed before the end of June 2021. The redesign of these sites took into consideration adjacent structures and their intended use, employing different forms of green infrastructure to prioritize their functionality, appeal, and longevity.
The jury unanimously appreciated the citizen-led aspect of the project and the immediate positive impact of the initiative. This is a good example of a replicable and affordable way to contribute to streetscaping, illustrating how modest, incremental, positive change can occur in the public realm.
621 Barton St E, 579-581 Barton St E, 539 Barton St E, Hamilton
- Green Venture
- Adele Pierre Landscape Architect
- Barton Village BIA
- EduDeo Ministries
- Amaprop Canada Inc.
Visions and Master Plans winner: Fisherman’s Pier District Concept Plan
The Fisherman’s Pier District Concept Plan presents an exciting opportunity to reimagine a complex waterfront space that blends neighbourhood, recreational, industrial and heritage elements. Located in the shadow of the towering Skyway Bridge, the study area includes a large swath of land that has been under-utilized for decades. The Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority (HOPA) partnered with Civicplan to design and implement a participatory planning approach to the Concept Plan that blended a comprehensive analysis of planning policy and the use of an innovative engagement tool to provide the public and stakeholders more opportunities to participate in the design process. The Concept Plan promotes healthier lifestyles and improves quality of life by combining zone-specific interventions with other features to help residents reconnect to their waterfront allowing more people the opportunity to enjoy Lake Ontario and Hamilton Harbour.
This is a skillful re-imagining of an under-utilized post-industrial site that is one of the gateway entries to the City.
The designers know the site well as evidenced by the sensitive integration of industrial artifacts; the waterfront location has been maximized to take advantage of existing topographical datums in the design of the circulation, gathering spots, and framed views to add a significant new urban park to Hamilton.
As indicated by renderings, soft landscaping proposes an appropriate range of plant types to offer a range of experiences and a mediation of weather, summer through winter.
1155 Eastport Dr, Hamilton
- Hamilton Oshawa Port Authority
- Toms + McNally Design
Civic Achievement winner: Ken Soble Tower EnerPHit Transformation
The Ken Soble Tower Transformation is a ground-breaking project rehabilitating a 1967 social housing apartment building in Hamilton while reinvigorating community spaces, planning for ageing-in-place and barrier-free living, and building resilience to a changing climate. One of the first such retrofits in North America, the Ken Soble Tower is set to be one of the largest EnerPHit (Passive House retrofit) certified projects in the world. The renewal project brought 146 units of deeply-affordable seniors’ housing back online, making the Ken Soble Tower one of the most ambitious social housing transformations in the country, and paving the way for the nation’s ageing housing supply to secure a healthy, resilient future for millions of Canadians.
The tower renewal approach is laudable, particularly in the context of a design strategy intended to increase the building’s energy performance. The passive house certification stands as a civic achievement, demonstrating the viability of this solution in relation to ageing housing infrastructure and serving as a strong example to similar conditions in Hamilton.
Retaining the existing building has the benefit of maintaining existing City housing stock, relative to a likely reduced yield in a new-built scenario.
500 MacNab Street North, Hamilton
- ERA Architects Inc.
- City of Hamilton
Student Projects award for Merit – Architecture winner: City in Transition: Strategic Master Plan for Hamilton Bayfront
Hamilton is one of Canada’s leading industrial centers; it is the country’s largest steel centre. Yet the decline is obvious, the industry is losing its future and employees. Where should Hamilton go next?
The thesis examines the potential for specific urban interventions at different scales to act as catalysts for the development of a sustainable built environment. It proposes the introduction and accommodation of new institutions in the Hamilton Bayfront Area within an expanded, enhanced, and attractive public realm.
This is an admirable attempt to use the building form to frame views of the harbour. The protruding “arms” of the W shaped-building become prows framing expansive views of the water; they also function as accessible public realm components, welcoming pedestrians below.
The undulating green roof complements the existing topography and adds a playful element.
Hamilton Bayfront Area
- Yuan Li, University of Toronto
Student Projects award for Excellence – Architecture winner: Greenbelt Farmers Market and Learning Centre
A keystone to a healthy community is access to locally grown and healthy foods. The Greenbelt Farmer’s Market & Learning Centre aims to engage the local community in growing, eating and shopping locally. With program spaces that teach youth how to garden and how to live a healthy life, this facility can contribute to the health of the neighbourhood for generations. Given its proximity to the iconic Battlefield Park and Centennial Parkway, the facility can become a visible local attraction, spreading awareness of healthy living and of the adjacent Greenbelt ecology.
The form-follows-function drive behind the planning of this project is successful and straightforward, leading to a very logical program deployment and massing.
The use of Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) is a great structural collateral move, complementing the programmatic intent of this project – a fresh market sourcing healthy food and learning opportunities for the surrounding community – by incorporating healthy, sustainable building technology. Architectural details such as skylights contribute to a great experience.
King at Centennial, Stoney Creek
- Gabriel Garofalo