Every other year, the City of Toronto holds Urban Design Awards to acknowledge the significant contribution that architects, landscape architects, urban designers, artists, design students, and the city builders make to the look and livability of our city.  The Awards competition offers the opportunity to receive city-wide recognition from a jury of urban visionaries.  The Awards program is administered by the Civic Design team within City Planning's Urban Design section.

Award Categories

ExpandElements

A stand-alone object, public art installation, landscape element or small-scale piece of a building which contributes significantly to the quality of the public realm.

Submissions may include, but are not limited to: benches, doorways, signage, canopies, porches or colonnades, gateways, light fixtures, walkways, stairways, barrier-free access, fences and works of art.

ExpandBuildings in Context - Private

An individual building or a composition of buildings that achieve(s) urban design excellence and is precedent setting for a project of its type through its relationship to the public realm, pedestrian amenity, detailing and massing, and the natural environment.

Submissions should document and highlight how the project contributes to successful city-building through its contextual relationship, design quality and measures of sustainable design.

All types of buildings are eligible whether “landmark” or “background,” new construction or a restoration/transformation. Projects in both urban and suburban contexts will be considered.

The Building in Context category consists of three sub-categories that reflect a range of scales:

a. Low-scale

A low-scale project is four storeys or less, notwithstanding its land use. Submissions may include, but are not limited to: multi-family residential uses such as low-rise apartments and townhouse developments; and retail, office, mixed-use or industrial facilities on main streets and arterials.  Single-family dwellings (e.g. houses) are not eligible for entry.

b. Mid-Rise

A mid-rise building is generally taller than four storeys, but no taller than the width of the adjacent street right-of-way (i.e. typically between 5 and 11 storeys). Submissions may include, but are not limited to: mixed-use “Avenue” buildings, small apartment/condo buildings, commercial and industrial buildings.

c. Tall

A tall building is generally taller than the width of the adjacent street right-of-way. A building or project that has both tall and mid-rise components should be entered in this category. Submissions may include, but are not limited to residential or commercial buildings.

ExpandBuildings in Context - Public

An individual building or a composition of buildings, with a primary function to serve the public and/or is largely accessible to the public. Public Buildings are focal points for communities of various sizes, from small neighbourhoods to a national body.

Submissions should demonstrate urban design and architectural excellence through a relationship to the public realm, pedestrian amenity, detailing and massing, the natural environment and sustainable design.

In this category, all building scales are eligible (low-scale, mid-rise and tall), as well as new construction and restoration/transformation. Buildings in both urban and suburban contexts will be considered.  Submissions may include, but are not limited to: education, health care, recreation, cultural, community and civic buildings.

ExpandSmall Open Spaces

A small open space, generally related to and defined by adjacent buildings or natural/built elements, which provides an extension and addition to the public realm in an exemplary way. The small open space need not be publicly owned, but must be publicly accessible.

Submissions may include, but are not limited to: courtyards, plazas, forecourts, gardens, trails, mews and small neighbourhood parks.

ExpandLarge Places and/ or Neighborhood Designs

A design plan for a new or renovated large-scale area of the city. The project must be completed to such extent to allow the jury to clearly understand and evaluate the plan.

The submissions in this category should clearly state the existing conditions and demonstrate how City objectives for establishing a clear public structure of streets, parks, open spaces and building sites are met.

The submission should also highlight major areas of innovation, particularly those related to infrastructure, environmental management and sustainable design, as well as provide evidence of community involvement and acceptance.  Submissions may include but are not limited to: large parks, area/district plans, neighbourhood plans, subdivisions, industrial parks, campus plans and streetscapes.  Both urban and suburban contexts will be considered.

ExpandVisions & Master Plans

Unexecuted visions for the city, studies and master plans of high inspirational value with the potential for significant impact on Toronto's development. Submissions in this category may include but are not limited to: theoretical and visionary projects, as well as any project fitting the description of Large Places or Neighborhood Designs that are unbuilt.

ExpandStudent Projects

Students in urban design, architecture, landscape architecture and other design programs are invited to submit theoretical or studio projects set in, or relating to  Toronto.  Students should co-ordinate with design studio professors/advisors to select projects that are suitable for submission.