Urban Design and Architecture Awards

Urban Design & Architecture Awards 2019 Winners

2019 Urban Design & Architecture Awards

The City received 43 submissions (PDF, 2 MB) to be considered for the 2019 Urban Design and Architecture Awards. Each submission was evaluated by a volunteer jury consisting of 6 design professionals. 

The submissions were evaluated based on these criteria:

  • Contribution to the public realm
  • Success of massing, orientation, scale, materiality and contextual integration
  • Quality of execution
  • Innovation and uniqueness
  • Energy efficiency, sustainability, adaptability and resiliency
  • Comprehensiveness 
  • Creative solutions
  • Clarity and execution
  • Community Involvement
  • Innovation and uniqueness

The awards were presented at a gala reception held at Liuna Station on November 7, 2019. The Jury Report provides more information on the winning submissions. View the full jury report (PDF, 2 MB)

View an interactive map showing locations of all the winners of Hamilton’s Urban Design and Architecture Awards.

Looking for higher resolution photo? Email us at [email protected].

Project description
A project located in downtown Hamilton that ties two underutilized and decaying buildings together with a new lobby and core area located between them in a former alley. The alley once provided access for horse drawn carriages that serviced the stores fronting onto King Street and James Street North. Hamilton developer Core Urban saw an opportunity for revitalization. The architecture of both buildings has been restored, and 10-12 James has received an addition of two floors with a new steel structure threaded through to new helical piles in the basement. Restaurants will be located in the ground floor space and the upper five floors will be multi-tenant office space. King James is a comprehensive project involving reuse, new construction, and renovation.

Jury comments
The project is exemplary in the way it maintains and enhances built heritage - both the existing building and the adjacent alley, which has been incorporated into the interior to wonderful effect. A new addition has been carefully positioned on top and designed in an architectural language that is distinct but complementary. The attention to detail throughout is remarkable. The King James re-energizes this stretch of James street and activates the public realm. 

Front view of King James Private Building

Location: 10-14 James Street North & 11 King Street East, Hamilton
Project team: 

  • Core Urban Inc.
  • Lintack Architects Incorporated 
  • AJ Clarke & Associates Ltd.
  • Strik Baldinelli Moniz Ltd.
  • Mantecon Partners
  • Seguin Engineering

Project description
Built in 1935, the Westdale Theatre has been revitalized into a beacon of entertainment which blends classic Art Deco styling with 21st century standards - including a viewing area for those with mobility issues, accessible AODA washrooms, energy efficient HVAC system and state- of-the-art theatre equipment. The Westdale Theatre has been restored into a cultural hub showcasing films, talks, music, performance and special events with its 345 seat capacity. The marquee was stripped down to its historic facade, revealing original stone carvings which animates the streetscape for theatre-goers. The Westdale Theatre demonstrates community value as it has been an anchor in the Westdale Village community for generations, is now fully restored and is ready to resume its place in the centre of Westdale life.

Jury comments
This redesign is a welcome return to the 1930s. After the removal of a marquee, the theatre’s original facade has been revealed, restoring a human scale to the street and architectural detail that enlivens the pedestrian experience. The careful restoration and renovation of the interior preserves valuable design elements - but more importantly it revives an important community space and maintains its original use.

Front view of the Westdale Theater

Location: 1014 King Street West, Hamilton
Project team: 

  • Westdale Cinema Group
  • Toms + McNally Design
  • exp Services Inc.
  • Gerald Stanley
  • Ira McDonald Construction

Project description
This $24.1M project was the renovation of the existing former Wentworth County Courthouse at 50 Main Street East to be the City’s new Provincial Offences Administration Offices. The program also included accommodation of a hearing room for the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, as well as a separate $2.6M interior renovation of the 3rd, 4th and 5th Floors for various other related municipal departments. Originally constructed in 1958 to the design of Hamilton architect, Alvin Prack; conservation of the heritage attributes of the existing building were to be balanced with the modernization goals. A universal design approach was used to ensure accessibility for everyone. Updated security provisions, enhanced audio-visual systems and upgraded energy conservation complied with today’s architectural design standards to ensure innovation, sustainability and quality of execution.

Jury comments
The jury applauded this project as a fine example of the conservation of a modernist building. Outside, a new ramp and forecourt provides true physical accessibility while remaining sensitive to the existing architecture. The facade of the 1958 building has been skillfully restored, maintaining its considerable cultural value. Within, major changes to the building have conserved the most significant aspects of the original architecture. The jury noted that, in a building project such as this, what you decide not to change is as important as what you do change -- and the architects have chosen well.

Front view of Provincial Offences Administration Office

Location: 50 Main Street East, Hamilton
Project team: 

  • Invizij Architects Inc
  • City of Hamilton
  • exp Services Inc.
  • VG+ Architects
  • Novita Techne
  • Lobo Consulting

Project description
Gage Park Greenhouse replaces a non-descript building which held Hamilton’s collection of tropical plants, with a transformative design nestled within the southern corner of Gage Park’s historic landscape. The wood glulam, moment frame structure is the largest in Canada. A free, fully accessible destination, it allows visitors from all socio-economic backgrounds, access to a year-round tropical environment. The design prioritizes a visual connection to the escarpment and existing amphitheatre. A two step grassed landscape feature creates the opportunity for a host of new uses. On the west side, a two step landscaped theatre creates a new venue. Inside, towering palms will stretch to the rooftops of the structure, wide steps double as seating, and a circular path invites visitors to discover new species of plants, turtle, quail and coy habitats. It has spurred civic pride, hosting over 10,000 local and international guests since its opening in March.

Jury comments
The jury applauds the thoughtful organization of this important public building. The central walkway defines a direct and pleasant path through the building, while a curving walkway delivers a series of green oases mixed with calming vistas. The use of heavy timber provides an effective contrast to the glass and steel of the greenhouses. This sort of facilities is especially valuable in winter cities such as Hamilton, and the jury applauds this project for delivering a rich and complex space to frame the experience of plant life.  

Interior view of the Gage Park Greenhouse

Location: 1000 Main Street East, Hamilton
Project team: 

  • mcCallumSather
  • City of Hamilton
  • MTE Consultants Inc.
  • ARC Engineering
  • Seguin Engineering
  • Larssen Greenhouse Consulting ltd.

Project description
The Bernie Morelli Recreation Centre (BMRC) is developed as part of a larger urban precinct to create an important new community hub for the east Hamilton. The precinct design incorporates three buildings and a new urban park: the new BMRC, expansion to the existing Jimmy Thompson Memorial Pool, and the new North Secondary School. Master planned together to create a holistic urban environment with the Tim Horton’s Field, they form an outdoor courtyard creating a new prominent civic destination for Hamiltonians. The BMRC houses a leisure pool, gymnasium, walking track, a series of activity rooms, youth, seniors, and rentable program spaces, and a commercial kitchen/café with a lounge with views and connections to exterior program elements. The park space connecting all three buildings includes a summer splash pad element that operates as a winter skating loop and a 2” deep reflecting pond in the spring and fall.

Jury comments
A building that is wonderfully public in its character, centered on a lobby and lounge that are generous and comfortable. The architecture provides lots of natural light, and it makes careful use of some high-quality materials to create a strong sense of place. The gym, with its wood ceiling, is a very inviting and handsome place. The jury also admired the way the old pool, with all its history, was integrated with the new facility. 

Exterior view of Bernie Morelli Recreation Centre Skating Pad

Location: 876 Cannon Street East, Hamilton
Project team: 

  • MJMA
  • City of Hamilton
  • Blackwell Structural Engineers
  • Smith and Andersen Consulting Engineering
  • S. Llewellyn & Associates Ltd.

Project description
The Bernie Morelli Recreation Centre (BMRC) is developed as part of a larger urban precinct to create an important new community hub for the east Hamilton. The precinct design incorporates three buildings and a new urban park: the new BMRC, expansion to the existing Jimmy Thompson Memorial Pool, and the new North Secondary School. Master planned together to create a holistic urban environment with the Tim Horton’s Field, they form an outdoor courtyard creating a new prominent civic destination for Hamiltonians. The BMRC houses a leisure pool, gymnasium, walking track, a series of activity rooms, youth, seniors, and rentable program spaces, and a commercial kitchen / café with a lounge with views and connections to exterior program elements. The park space connecting all three buildings includes a summer splash pad element that operates as a winter skating loop and a 2” deep reflecting pond in the spring and fall.

Jury comments
This landscape serves the public in both winter and summer; it also creates a framework for community life across several civic sites. There is a strong relationship between the outdoor spaces and the recreation centre; the site also provides public connections across Cannon to the stadium, to the adjacent high school and to transit. This is a very strong project. The landscaped areas provide ancillary space to the surrounding buildings. The jury noted that the parking lot was under-designed and could have benefited from a bioswale and more tree planting. 

Front view of urban park at Bernie Morelli Recreation Centre

Location: 876 Cannon Street East, Hamilton
Project team: 

  • MJMA
  • City of Hamilton
  • Blackwell Structural Engineers
  • Smith and Andersen Consulting Engineering
  • S. Llewellyn & Associates Ltd.

Project description
The Dundas Library’s space was reorganized to better serve the public. The side entrance is enhanced with a new sculptural canopy and landscaped side yard that doubles as an outdoor reading room. The renovation provided an accessible route to the side entrance and a vestibule to improve the comfort and energy efficiency of the interior space. Bright blue accents on the fence, signage and columns provide wayfinding to the renewed entrance and the colour continues in the interior with finishes in the new quiet study rooms and the laptop bar in the main library space. The new elements were designed to complement the existing mid-century building. A new faceted ceiling in the main space integrates lighting and provides acoustic dampening and visual interest. To bring light deep into the basement space, the multi-purpose room and media lab are wrapped in glass to achieve bright, light-filled spaces in the lower level.

Jury comments
A strong landscape, with a simple but effective plant palette and nice detail in the steel signage. It has activated a small area - which might have been overlooked - and enhanced it as a community space. The trees will create a lovely and robust canopy over time. 

Side view of the Dundas Library

Location: 18 Ogilvie Street , Dundas
Project team: 

  • Workshop Architecture
  • City of Hamilton
  • Forest and Field Landscape Architecture Inc.
  • exp Services Inc.
  • MTE

Project description
This mural adorns two opposing walls of a heritage building in downtown Hamilton, ON. The imagery pays homage to the generations of labourers from the community who were once employed at this site. The dynamic composition of the figures on opposite side working in unison to raise the giant hammer (Hamilton’s nickname) integrates both walls. This task is reminiscent of the community event of totem pole raising by Canada's Indigenous Peoples.

Jury comments
A fantastic example of placemaking through art. The scale and colour are very successful; although it is flat, the image really animates its surroundings through its playful composition.

View of the mural titled "Raise" on 2 walls of a heritage building

Location: 1 West Avenue, Hamilton
Project team: 

  • Lester Coloma
  • Norman Coloma
  • Forge and Foster

Project description
How do you engage residents and business owners to prioritize spending on public realm improvements in one of the most complex wards in the city of Hamilton? This was the challenge presented to Civicplan by the Ward 2 community and Councillor. PlanLocal: Beautiful Streets and Spaces was the answer. PlanLocal is an example of Participatory Planning, which involves communities in the strategy and management of urban planning processes. The project required innovative community engagement as the target area, Ward 2, contains six neighbourhoods, multiple BIAs, the downtown core, historic districts, community housing and various educational institutions. Civicplan designed a process that combined in-person events coordinated by community champions with an interactive online platform seeking ideas from residents. The process resulted in concrete public realm improvements, strengthened local networks and increased community knowledge of critical municipal planning processes.

Jury comments
The community gathering data to improve their own neighbourhood and make it safer is commendable. The jury suggests that small actions in particular places can help build energy toward a systematic transformation; data is valuable in making change.

Promotion for Plan Local Project in Ward 2

Location: Ward 2
Recipient: Civicplan

Project description
The purpose of the North End Neighbourhood Transportation Management Plan (NETMP) was to identify and resolve neighbourhood traffic and transportation problems through the application of traffic safety measures. The plan included speed reductions, traffic management and calming through application of a blanket speed limit of 30 Km/h and numerous supportive physical measures. The NETMP contributed to the public realm and road user safety. The Implementation was executed in two phases: temporary tactical urbanism (Pilot) followed by permanent implementation of traffic calming measures. Additionally, the NETMP integrated the Public Art process to select a design for neighbourhood signs at six entry points into the North End.

Jury comments
A cost-effective piece of stormwater infrastructure that also provides a variety of other services to the community, including environmental benefits and a contribution to placemaking. The jury notes that this type of project can be overlooked - it’s not flashy and requires ongoing maintenance - but should not. In fact, it should be replicated many times over. 

Traffic calming measure in North End Neighbourhood

Location: North End Neighbourhood
Project team:

  • City of Hamilton
  • IBI Group
  • Cima+
  • Rankin Construction Inc.
  • Aquafor Beech Limited

Project description
How can conversations concerning neighbourhood character lead to more productive dialogue about how new development and intensification can be compatible with existing urban fabric? This was the goal of the Durand Neighbourhood Character Project. Durand is a historic downtown neighbourhood that has faced significant loss of urban fabric through previous periods of under-regulated development. Currently, Hamilton is experiencing a renewed period of growth, which challenges the neighbourhood to balance new development and intensification within the established community. The Durand Neighbourhood Association (DNA) partnered with Civicplan to design and facilitate a participatory planning process that built on the residents’ desire for proactive, hands-on planning. The Project explored innovative, community driven approaches to help constructively shape new development in the neighbourhood. The result was a greater understanding of neighbourhood characteristics and attitudes toward character, as well as concrete information to use in a tool to assess future development in the neighbourhood.

Jury comments
Community-based planning with a different lens on how to impact change. This document provides an accurate overview of the area; it does not ignore the less romantic buildings but accepts the diversity of the neighbourhood’s built form as a whole in order to guide new forms of development through thoughtful guidelines.

Character highlights in the Durand Neighbourhood

Location: Durand Neighbourhood
Project team:

  • Durand Neighbourhood Association
  • Civicplan

Project description
This project provides the preliminary framework of a participatory-design process for the revitalization of a vacant school into a community hub. As both a process and an example of possible outcome, this project envisions a reiterative design approach based in the collaborative redevelopment of the former King George School site as a reflection of the needs of existing and potential new users of neighbourhood public services. By developing the site in this manner, the aim is to identify and deliver services that can best serve neighbourhood interests and complement other community uses offered on site (through shared facilities or user bases).  Precedent research from adaptive re-use community hub projects across North America provide a toolkit for community members to explore the compatibility of potential community service functions that could be implemented on the site through an interactive public consultation exercise.

Jury comments
An ambitious project that addresses an important issue: how old school buildings can and should continue to serve the public. The project recognizes an existing underused structure and marries it with the results of a strong analysis to suggest how it could benefit the local community. The project points the way toward a subtle and thoughtful form of intensification, rebuilding a neighbourhood using physical components that are already there. 

Front view of King George School Community Hub

Location: 77 Gage Avenue North, Hamilton
Project team:

  • Alexander Furneaux – Ryerson University
  • Leah Dow – Ryerson University
  • Michelle Diplock – Ryerson University
  • Darcy Watt – Ryerson University
  • Valeriya Sokolenko – Ryerson University
  • Andrew Ramsaroop – Ryerson University
  • Sean Hertel Consulting

Project description
This sign was fully funded by generous sponsors and fabricated by local Dundas business Hamilton Scenic Specialty Inc. The sign is 60 feet long by 6 feet deep with letters at 7.5 feet tall and 2 feet deep and weighs approximately 9700 pounds. The average electrical consumption is 600 watts which is approximately the wattage of a small coffee maker. In addition to bringing some life and colour to the forecourt, the sign has become a popular attraction for residents and tourists alike. Since its debut, social media has been flooded with selfies and pictures using the hashtag #HamOntSign.

Jury comments
Often described as bland, institutional, and intimidating, a City Hall precinct should instead represent and exude civic pride, and be an inviting, accessible, and inclusive community space. The Hamilton Signature Sign and Floral Topiary contributed to Hamilton’s City Hall forecourt and public realm in becoming an animated, engaging, and fun civic space that Hamiltonians can call their own and be proud of.

View of the Hamilton sign in front of Hamilton City Hall

Location: 71 Main Street West, Hamilton
Project team:

  • City of Hamilton
  • Hamilton Scenic Specialities Incorporated

Project description
A giant shaggy dog spent the summer of 2018 playing with a ball and chasing a butterfly outside Hamilton's city hall. His name was Ralph and his long fur was a type of shaggy grass called Carex bronco. The pup was built out of three separate wire frames completed with irrigation hoses and bags packed with soil to support the grass. The horticultural practice used to create Ralph is known as Topiary. It is the practice of training perennial plants by clipping foliage and twigs to develop and maintain clearly defined shapes.

Jury comments
Often described as bland, institutional, and intimidating, a City Hall precinct should instead represent and exude civic pride, and be an inviting, accessible, and inclusive community space. The Hamilton Signature Sign and Floral Topiary contributed to Hamilton’s City Hall forecourt and public realm in becoming an animated, engaging, and fun civic space that Hamiltonians can call their own and be proud of.

View of shaggy dog & ball Floral Topiary display in front of Hamilton City Hall

Location: 71 Main Street West, Hamilton
Project team:

  • City of Hamilton - Horticulture
  • City of Hamilton - Landscape Architectural Services

Looking for higher resolution photo? Send your request to [email protected].