2000 City of Toronto, Architecture and Urban Design Awards
The Architecture and Urban Design Awards are of great importance in promoting quality design in the city of Toronto. The Awards recognize those responsible for the special places, elements and projects that make this city a more interesting, more pleasant place in which to live. The Jury was alarmed to realize that this program might have been abandoned but for the generosity of a group of corporate sponsors that rescued it.
Jury members noted with interest that, for an overwhelming majority of projects receiving awards, the clients are either not-for-profit institutions or government agencies. The tradition has been that there are greater possibilities to craft a more provocative, unique design in the institutional realm than in the developer or "for-profit" sectors. Despite cutbacks in many publicly-funded programs, the trend, based on this year's entries, still appears to predominate. With the extent of new private construction taking place in the city of Toronto, the jury would hope that the next wave of Architecture and Urban Design Awards submissions will also bring innovative private sector work to the forefront.
The jury was disappointed to observe that there were few entries in the "Theoretical" category and that much of the submitted material was of poor quality. This category is ideal for recent graduates but few appeared to take advantage of the opportunity. We encourage more individual practitioners, small or mid-sized firms, and especially student graduates and hope that a greater range of projects and representations might be forthcoming in the next call for entries.
[After considering the submissions for this year's Awards, the Jury felt that some of the submissions to the "Element or Building" category would be better recognized by another classification, and so created a fifth category - "Building Adaptation".]
Overall, the jury feels that there was a lack of diversity in submissions. All urban designers, planners, architects and landscape architects, who are engaged in creating well-considered work, make a significant contribution to the improvement of the urban design of the city, regardless of size or budget. More should take advantage of this opportunity to receive recognition. The requested submission format is inexpensive and accessible and is set up to include all types of entrants on an equal basis. In addition, we noted that many of the submissions provided insufficient information, within both written and graphic components, and some photography was misleading. This failing became evident when the jury toured the actual sites of finalists before selecting a recipient for each award and honourable mention. A clear and accurate presentation is essential for a jury to develop an adequate understanding of the intent of a project.
The jury, Bruce Corban, William Greer, Dan Hanganu, Janna Levitt, thanks all participants and we congratulate the winners.