Seven Ontario Buildings Win OAA Design Excellence Awards

The Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) announced the winners of its 2022 Design Excellence Awards on Tuesday, with seven innovative projects across the province winning awards.

The biennial OAA Award Winnerschosen by a jury of design experts, range from libraries to residences to performance halls, and were selected based on a wide range of criteria from their creativity to sustainability.

Toronto is home to four of this year’s winners, with the other Ontario winners located in Stayner, Brampton and Stratford. Interestingly, a project not built in Ontario also received an award – the Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts and Sciences located in Lubbock, Texas.

Winners will be honored next month at OAA’s Celebration of Excellence. There, a Toronto-based architectural design firm Smart density will also be featured as the winner of the Best Emerging Practice Award, given to a new business that “demonstrates a clear vision, well-articulated goals and proven effective strategies.”

“Smart Destiny is an architecture and urban planning company founded with a simple and strong vision: to create more density where our cities need it while contributing to great urban environments,” said Naama Blonder, architect, urban planner and urban planner at Smart Density. . “Achieving this vision would require more than the design of large buildings; we needed to lead the conversation on what denser, more sustainable and more livable neighborhoods can and should look like.

The winners of the Design Excellence Award are:

Centennial College Downsview Campus Center for Aerospace and Aviation

Location: Toronto, Ontario
Architect: MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects Ltd. In association with Stantec Architecture Ltd.

In an innovative adaptation of a heritage structure, the Centennial Center for Aerospace and Aviation has added two modern extensions to the downtown building. Now housing classrooms, offices, a library and two hangars, the building’s designers hope to encourage new generations of students to get into aviation and aerospace.

Clearview Public Library, Stayner Branch

ontario architects

Location: Stayner, Ontario
Architect: Lebel & Bouliane inc.

Located in Simcoe County, the new Clearview Public Library spans just 650 square meters, but uses a light and airy design to make the space feel expansive and open. The team behind the library hoped to create an innovative community center with a panoramic view of the surrounding fields and greenery. Clad in durable wood siding and low VOC paint, the focus on creating a healthy environment was front and center.

Springdale Library and Komagata Mary Park

ontario design award

Location: Brampton, Ont.
Architect: RDH Architects Inc.

Examples of progressive architecture in the suburbs are rare, but Springdale Library and Komagata Maru Park is one project that attempts to change that. The eye-catching development uses organic forms, a mountainous green roof and water features to give it a natural presence in the Brampton neighborhood. Qualifying for LEED Gold certification, the building’s design uses geothermal heating and cooling, locally available materials and vegetation, and a rainwater harvesting system.

tile house

Location: Toronto, Ontario
Architect: Kohn Shnier Architects

Located in downtown Toronto, the Tile House exemplifies a balance between departing from conventional design while respecting the qualities of the neighborhood. Although similar in shape to the houses on either side, the house’s clay tile facade makes it stand out. The atypical design continues inside with a virtual absence of traditional doors. While they are used for the bathrooms, the rest of the house is divided by oversized sliding panels.

Tom Patterson Theater

Location: Stratford, ON
Architect: Hariri Pontarini Architects

Designed as an attractor for the Stratford Festival, the new Tom Patterson Theater sits on the banks of the River Avon, surrounded by gardens of native species. Filled with an intimate auditorium, lobby, cafe, education lab, lounge, and forum, the building’s open design provides uninterrupted river views through a curvilinear glass surrounded by bronze mullions. The connection to nature is even stronger thanks to the theater’s Ontario limestone panels and hickory slat ceilings.

Tommy Thompson Park Entrance Pavilion

ontario design award

Location: Toronto, Ontario
Architect: DTAH Architects Limited

Located on the spire of Leslie Street, the Tommy Thompson Park Entrance Pavilion provides a new connection to the park. Although modest in size, housing only public restrooms and administrative spaces, the pavilion’s design won the OAA award for its simplicity and elegance.

University College Revitalization

Location: Toronto, Ontario
Architect: Kohn Shnier Architects in association with ERA Architects Inc.

As one of the oldest buildings at the University of Toronto, University College has undergone a strategic revitalization, a major component of which has been the reintroduction of the library into two large historic halls. The architects managed to strike a balance between introducing modern technology and lighting while allowing the building’s heritage to shine.

Buddy Holly Performing Arts Hall

Location: Lubbock, TX
Architect: Diamond and Schmitt Architects Incorporated (design architect), Parkhill (official architect) and MWM Architects, Inc. (associate architect)

After two tornadoes ripped through downtown Lubbock, the town’s cultural center was destroyed. The new Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts embodies the community’s efforts to revitalize the city through diverse arts programming. The room, aiming for LEED Silver certification, was designed to thrive sustainably in the Texas heat, using angled louvers and deep ribbon windows that provide shade and filter light without obstructing views.


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Rozella J. Cook