An elite group emerged as winners in the 2012 AIBC Architectural Awards, announced May 11. A modest total of seven projects by British Columbia architects were selected from 58 award nominations across four award categories. Three of the awards went to projects by Busby Perkins + Will Architects (now Perkins + Will Canada Architects Co.), while Vancouver-based Patkau Architects Inc. collected honours in two categories.
Photo 1: AIBC Innovation Award – Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability, Busby Perkins + Will Architects (now Perkins + Will Canada Architects Co.). Developed over 12 years, the University of British Columbia’s Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS) is designed to be the most sustainable building in North America. It sets new standards for environmental sensitivity, boasting natural daylight and ventilation, a living roof and a wood structure constructed of FSC-certified and pine beetle-killed wood. CIRS actually produces energy by harvesting sunlight, collecting and treating rainwater, and capturing waste heat from a neighbouring building. More than a building, CIRS is a research tool that actively demonstrates the possibilities of sustainable design.
Photo 2: Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia Award in Architecture (Merit) – Linear House, Patkau Architects Inc. Situated on a 16-acre farm on Salt Spring Island, B.C., Linear House embodies the inspired meeting of old and new, man-made and nature-grown. A row of windswept Douglas Firs provides unusual definition to the site, bisecting the surrounding farm grounds. Linear House sits discretely in a narrow space between the trees, allowing for stunning views throughout. The designers’ keen attention to detail is seen in such features as the continuous, covered walkway and dozens of dramatic skylights.
Photo 3: Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia Award in Architecture (Merit) – Oppenheimer Park Activity Centre, mcfarlane green biggar architecture + design (now office of mcfarlane biggar architects + designers, and Michael Green Architecture Inc.). Located in Oppenheimer Park in the heart of Vancouver’s downtown eastside, this new activity space is part of a recently completed renovation project. The objective was not only to revitalize the park but to meet community’s needs through ready access to open green space. The result is an innovative round structure that attracts visitors and invites the community to rediscover this neighbourhood park.
Photo 4: Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia Award in Architecture (Merit) – Samuel Brighouse Elementary School, Busby Perkins + Will Architects (now Perkins + Will Canada Architects Co.). Located in Richmond, B.C., this innovative kindergarten to Grade 7 school offers a flexible and adaptable learning environment for more than 500 students. It features open classrooms, administration space, dedicated community space, a library and gymnasium. The designers brought a commitment to sustainability to the forefront, with such features as natural ventilation, daylight harvesting and green roofs. The highly functional, flexible structure is the result of a collaborative design process that included educators, parents, local residents and students. The youthful input inspired the structure’s playful roof form, abundance of natural light and vibrant colour palette.
Photo 5: Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia Award in Architecture (Merit) – VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre, Busby Perkins + Will Architects (now Perkins + Will Canada Architects Co.). The new visitor’s centre at Vancouver’s VanDusen Botanical Garden was designed to create a harmonious balance between architecture and landscape, from both a visual and ecological perspective. At the fore is a striking, stylish roof inspired by the organic forms of a native orchid, seemingly floating above the building’s curving rammed-earth and concrete walls. In keeping with the firm’s commitment to sustainability, the facility is also designed to collect and treat water, harvest sunlight and store energy. It is the first building in Canada to register for the rigorous Living Building Challenge.
Photo 6: AIBC Emerging Firm Award – WMW Public Architecture + Communication Inc. The Vancouver-based firm produces unique work at the intersection of architecture, media and identity design. The firm’s designers collaborate seamlessly between these fields using a unique studio model that rejects typical top-down design processes, favouring instead to operate within the realms of digital and construction technologies, emerging materials and media. As a result, this award-winning firm is able to create engaging spaces and experiences that benefit from a broader, collaborative approach.
Photo 7: AIBC Special Jury Award – Winnipeg Skating Shelters, Patkau Architects Inc. A series of temporary structures grouped as a village, the Winnipeg Skating Shelters are a celebration of winter. Through elegant and intimate design, the creative team produced simple yet stylish forms that provide shelter from elements for the users of Winnipeg’s extensive network of river skating trails. Using thin, flexible plywood, each structure boasts fluid lines that sway gently in the wind while funnelling sunlight, creating an aura of warmth within.