2009 Design Exchange Award Winners in Canada Print
Friday, 27 November 2009 00:00

vignette_739-01The Design Exchange (DX) announced yesterday, in Toronto, the 2009 winners of the Design Exchange Awards. This national design competition is open to professional designers across Canada working in a range of disciplines. The awards were presented at a gala dinner at the DX on November 24th, 2009. The winners are displayed in an Exhibition at the DX running from November 25, 2009 – February 21, 2010.

The Design Exchange Awards promote Canadian design excellence and recognizes the critical role of design in all types of organizations – national & international. The Awards celebrate the success stories achieved through close partnerships between clients and designers. Projects are recognized for balancing function, aesthetics, and economic success.

Award catagories include architecture, interiors, visual communications, environments, fashion and industrial design. A special award is also presented to the CEO with the best design strategy. We are posting a list of winners in selected categories that are relevant to our readers are listed below.


Architecture – Commercial



Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, Sweeny Sterling Finlayson & Co. Architects Inc.

Production Architect: Bregman + Hamann Architects

Advocacy and Compliance Architect for RBC/RBC Dexia: Sweeny Sterling Finlayson & Co. Architects Inc.

Client: RBC Financial, RBC Dexia


Architecture – Commercial


Project: George Brown College – Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts

Designer: Kearns Mancini Architects Inc. with Gow Hastings Architects Inc.

An under-used site adjacent to the College was reclaimed to give the College new street frontage and 66,000 square feet of additional program space.

A 1914 heritage building further south, was restored to house the Colleges’ new student restaurant The Chefs’ House, with classroom spaces above. Reflecting new philosophies within the culinary profession, a large, open-concept kitchen is now located at the front of The Chefs’ House Restaurant.

A dramatic chef-centered identity is achieved by displaying the open kitchen and food preparation area in the corner and storefront windows. Passers-by are given a rare opportunity to see the culinary students at work. Heat gathered from exhaust hoods in culinary labs is recovered and circulated to reheat the building, an efficient system that creates comfortable interior conditions.

The school can now accommodate enrolment increases of 15% in the Chef School, and 30% in the Centre for Hospitality and Tourism Management.


Architecture – Commercial


Project: Centre for Urban Ecology

Designer: Taylor Hazell Architects with architectsAlliance

Client: Humber College Institute for Technology and Advanced Learning; City of Toronto; Toronto and Region Conservation Authority

The Centre is a multi-purpose building used to provide public education to promote technology in support of the preservation of the natural world. It contains visitor services, audio visual links to other green sites, links to college programming, display areas, administrative space for outdoor education staff, accessible lunch areas for visitors, and dedicated work areas for student projects.

The two-storey building is wrapped by an earth wall on three sides, the landscape falling away on the west to create a sheltered outdoor classroom for the school children.

The building is a glazed box: the main space is a lookout, and the teaching occurs against the backdrop of the landscape itself, with wildlife including deer, fox and many species of birds seen from the classrooms.

The Centre for Urban Ecology was one of the first buildings in Toronto to receive a Gold LEED certification.

Island Yacht Club_6Island Yacht Club_7

Architecture – Commercial

Honorable Mention

Project: Island Yacht Club

Designer: Montgomery Sisam Architects

Client: Island Yacht Club

The Island Yacht Club was built to respond to the Club’s need for a new building, following the destruction of the original in a fire. The building consists of two north-south building blocks.

The front block contains the social spaces while an area between the blocks creates a more private outdoor court for those using the pool. An extensive exterior deck was built at the same level as the interior floor to allow for a seamless transition from indoor to outside.

The exterior enclosure is primarily glass and the low horizontal plane of the roof ensures the building sits unobtrusively on the flat landscape with minimal visual disruption to the tall cottonwood trees on the site and the water beyond.

Since the Island Yacht Club’s 2006 reopening, new membership has increased by approximately 25%. In addition, the club has experienced an increase in visits by boats from other yacht clubs


Architecture – Commercial

Honorable Mention

Project: Southbrook Vineyards

Designer: Diamond Schmitt Architects

Client: Southbrook Vineyards

The project includes a production winery and a new 8,000 square foot facility in a separate pavilion, housing retail, hospitality, and administrative areas.

The new design dedicates three separate event spaces with seated capacities of 12, 80 and 200, while not interfering with retail customers. Event numbers for 2009 are up over 50% from previous years. Capacity, in terms of cases of wine that can be produced, has increased significantly - up 20% to 12,000 cases/year. Southbrook Winery achieves a commendable 50% reduction in energy costs compared with conventional practice through the application of “classic truth” in building engineering.

Construction waste was sorted for recycling thereby reducing by 88% the materials that would have been directed to the landfill.

The project has met its sustainable design target of LEED Gold; one of only two wineries in North America to receive this designation.

Next  Architecture Residential >>


Architecture – Residential



Project: 40R Laneway House

Designer: Superkül Inc.

Client: Elena & Jorge Soni

Beginning its life as a blacksmith’s shop in the 1880’s, the building remained in industrial service for over 120 years. The current owners bought the industrial shed to convert it to a single-family residence. 

The strategy was to selectively rebuild it to provide the amenities of ‘home’, while retaining as much of its existing character as possible.

The building’s existing steel cladding was catalogued, removed, reformed and reinstalled as the primary building skin. Black-painted cedar and marine grade plywood, clads the remainder. 

Existing structural members were retained where possible. The tight laneway conditions required a rethinking of how to make a light and airy space without being able to add new windows, and with a total floor area of 800 square feet. 

The design innovation was to turn the focus of the house to the sky, designing the building to draw significant amounts of light and ventilation from above.


Architecture – Residential


Project: Shift Cottage

Designer: Superkül Inc.

Together with the Clients, the Architect chose the site for this 2,000 square foot family cottage for its long views of the Bay and for its topography, which allowed for the physical integration of the cottage with its island landscape.

Spaces inside and out are ample and open, allowing for easy movement by the range of ages that use the cottage. All millwork was designed with universal access in mind. Being on an island, all construction materials and equipment were brought over by barge. The resulting design used lightweight building materials.

The living spaces are contained in the bar closest to the shore, and the bedrooms are contained in the second bar, which stands against a line of trees. The two bars sit on a cedar deck that terraces and steps down to meet the landscape. The deck hosts outdoor living spaces, including a contained children’s play area and a private outdoor shower.

aerieLOFT_300dpi 1aerieLOFT_300dpi 2

Architecture – Residential


Project: aerieLOFT

Designer: Breathe Architects

Client: B. Puckering

The structure serves as a 108 square foot, white cedar exterior room or ‘bunkie’, located in either cottage country, or in a city backyard.

Instead of expanding and over-building in order to increase living space, the design objective was to facilitate contact with the natural environment with minimal impact. Eastern white cedar is a lightweight, plentiful, native wood to Ontario. Its oils make it resistant to rot, moisture and insects.

The aerieLOFT can be purchased as a plan, for those who wish to manage the project from start to finish, or as a kit, with pre-assembled components for construction by either the DIY consumer or a carpenter. As a result of minimal energy requirements, solar panels can be installed to provide electricity. Rainwater can be harvested from the large roof surface area. A separate white cedar water column and composting toilet allow for a total off-the-grid installation.

House 60 _6House 60 _7

Architecture – Residential

Honorable Mention

Project: House 60

Designer: gh3

Client: Allison Granovsky

House 60 is a renovation and addition to a 1950’s suburban house. The existing house was largely introverted with small windows, low ceilings, and a traditional floor plan. The pitched roof was removed and additions were made to both the front and rear of the house, resulting in two new facades and accomplishing the re-imaging of the house.

However underwhelming, the existing house was considered a material resource to be reused. Much of the house was re-skinned. This, in combination with the installation of significant interior insulation, greatly reduced the energy requirements of the house.

The existing pitched roof was removed and a new flat roof, insulated well beyond code requirements, completed the new high performing envelope.

A 2-storey glass wall at the rear of the house, a one-storey glass wall at front, and multiple skylights, maximize the admission of daylight and facilitate passive ventilation.

Next  Interior Design-Commercial >>


Interior Design – Commercial


Project: W Hotel Downtown Atlanta

Designer: burdifilek

Client: W Hotel / Barry Real Estate

The firm was commissioned by W Hotels to design the interiors of their first Hotel and Condominium complex in downtown Atlanta.

The objective was to create a modern interpretation of a park oasis in the centre of the financial district and the capital of the ‘New South.’ Scale and proportion play off one another in the double-height ground floor space; clean lines are complimented by sumptuous textures and rich tones, accented by sculptural elements throughout.

The unconventional materials palette is designed to inspire excitement and elicit a refined sense of discovery. Local and international artisans were commissioned to create signature art installations throughout the hotel; collaborating with the interior design firm to create unique points of memory within the space, using unconventional materials in distinctive ways.

The design perfectly reflects the W Hotel brand values, positively contributing to the corporate brand positioning and providing a consistent brand image.


Interior Design – Commercial


Project: Scandinave Les Bains vieux-Montreal

Designer: Saucier + Perrotte Architectes

Client: Gestion Rivière du Diable Inc.

The new spa is positioned at the ground level of a historic building. GRD and the architects used an experigram model to map guest experiences at every point of contact, from reception to massage room, bath to lockers.

Some of the systems and technologies used include: waterless urinals that minimize water consumption, hot tubs heated 85% by energy recovered from the ventilation and dehumidifying system, locker technology with programmable bracelets that are reusable, combining ease of use with enhanced security for guests.

Visitors are immersed in an environment where walls, floors and ceiling are slightly angled according to a notion of interior topography. Depressions in the floor level generate basins of water for bathing and volumes emerge from the ground to sculpt interior zones for the sauna and steam bath.

The new spa has had an immediate impact, strengthening its brand position, as the leader in thermal therapy and relaxation in the city.


Interior Design – Commercial


Project: Sub-Zero Wolf Showroom

Designer: Cecconi Simone

Client: Maroline Distributing Inc.

The project is a 4,000 square foot showroom for Sub Zero and Wolf, manufacturers of high-end residential appliances.

Since opening, several multi-unit residential projects have been secured, events have been ongoing and walk-in traffic is high. The products are presented in the Fire + Ice Gallery, separating them into cooking + refrigeration. Framed by ‘fire red’ and ‘ice blue’ back-painted glass, the consumer’s eye is drawn to the product as it would be in a gallery; there are no visual distractions created by conventional millwork or cabinetry.

Beyond the gallery, functional zones replicate how products would be found in the home. An enclosed working kitchen allows guest chefs to showcase the products in action. Consumers are invited to participate in cooking or simply observe the activity.

The building in which the showroom is located is certified as LEED Silver. The showroom meets and/or exceeds this certification.


Interior Design – Commercial

Honorable Mention

Project: Stantec Guelph Office

Designer: Stantec Architecture Ltd.

Client: Stantec Consulting Ltd.

The objectives of this project were to: transform and re-purpose an industrial warehouse into a functional and comfortable work place; create a flexible, durable and sustainable working environment; and promote interaction and communication among staff.

The re-purposing of a light industrial building allowed for substantial reduction in leasing rates. The 19,491 square foot space was designed in a series of bands that establish major spatial zones and thresholds between the public and private spheres of scientific consulting.

A centralized café, library and open meeting room facilitate interaction among the often reticent scientists. Senior and junior staff are commingled throughout the space, promoting interaction and mentoring in a supportive and non-differentiated environment. Operating costs were reduced using a high efficiency and smart HVAC system, occupancy sensors and low flow fixtures.

This project repositioned the client at the top of the environmental assessment/consulting field.


Interior Design – Commercial

Honorable Mention

Project: Murale

Designer: burdifilek

Client: Drug Mart

The scope of this project was to design an entirely new retail concept for the Canadian marketplace.

The offering includes a range of over two hundred cosmetic, fragrance and skincare collections, a pharmacy and dermatological skincare products, as well as personalized beauty services. The design approach was to create a continuous sense of discovery that unfolds as the consumer walks through the space.

An architectural framework was designed allowing for total flexibility within that framework to accommodate the individual merchandising needs of vendors and products from around the world. Floor and wall fixtures are all designed to be self-serve, providing the shopper with easy access to all the merchandise. Innovative lighting treatments were implemented while still adhering to strict energy consumption regulations.

The absence of traditional aisles has the additional benefit of making the space easy to navigate for all, especially for those with strollers or who are in wheelchairs.

Next  Interior Design-Temporary >>


Interior Design – Temporary or Portable


Project: Lippincott Living

Designer: Cecconi Simone

Client: Blurredge Group

In smaller projects of this size, it is unheard of to build a model suite because the associated cost is amortized over so few units. In this case, however, the showroom contributed to its profitability. Of the 8 units available, over 50% sold in less than four months.

Representative of all eight units, the ground floor includes many thoughtful design elements to enhance living and storage. Built in cabinetry runs from the front to the back of the space, forming the dining banquet, the kitchen and the living room entertainment unit. In lieu of upper cabinets over the kitchen, high capacity full height pantries are located opposite the island. Integrated appliances, with European styling create a sleek, streamlined kitchen with an island.

Beyond the generous millwork items that are standard, a complete furniture and accessories package offers the ultimate in turnkey convenience.


Interior Design – Temporary or Portable


Project: Schad Gallery of Biodiversity

Designer: Reich + Petch Design International

Client: Royal Ontario Museum

The gallery had to include as many specimens as possible from the world-class collections, be fabricated of sustainable materials and have bilingual, updateable content.

The gallery combines seven ecosystem experiences, 2500 specimens and models, two live displays, the Earth Rangers Studio, a broadcast-ready demonstration studio and updateable audiovisual support materials in two languages.

The central Biodiversity Spine outlines the scientific characteristics that define biodiversity. The specimen mounts resemble scientific apparatus and clean angular plinths support the larger specimens. Sail-like internal divisions made of PLYBOO subdivide these extremely large cases and conceal a series of structural columns that run the length of the gallery. They also carry the main signage and are strong enough to support large specimens.

Around the gallery perimeter, the Ecosystem Experience cases demonstrate the interconnectedness of organisms that comprise an ecosystem.

During the first week of operation an estimated 20,000 visitors visited the gallery.

ICE Condominiums at York Centre Sales Office 6ICE Condominiums at York Centre Sales Office 7

Interior Design – Temporary or Portable


Project: ÏCE Condominiums at York Centre Sales Office

Designer: Munge Leung Design Associates

Client: Lanterra Developments and Cadillac Fairview

The Designer’s goal was to create an environment that was cozy and comfortable as well as chic and sophisticated to help promote the sales and marketing of the ÏCE residential towers.

Inspired by the ideologies of Scandinavian design, the Designers have created an original, pure, sculptural and timeless space that promotes sustainable and affordable living. Displays of
iconic furniture from celebrated Scandinavian designers illustrate how the appreciation of simple shapes, patterns and textures can beautify everyday life.

The design of the Sales Office is lightweight, with simple construction, and minimal material usage, to reflect the fundamental theme of Scandinavian design.

To better understand and to foster a deeper appreciation for Scandinavian design and history, the Client and the creative team including the Architect, Interior Designer and Marketing Consultants, all traveled to Copenhagen and Stockholm to experience firsthand the essence of Scandinavian culture and design.


Interior Design – Temporary or Portable

Honorable Mention

Project: Installation

Designer: Studio Junction Inc.

Client: Studio Junction Inc.

This site-specific installation was created for Come Up To My Room 2009 - an alternative
design show housed in Toronto’s historic Gladstone Hotel. While being an exploration of light, this installation also experimented with various design and construction processes. Computer modeling and CNC cutting were used for the complex curves of the structural plywood elements of the bench and dome, in conjunction with traditional hands-on model making and woodworking techniques.

The designer’s took advantage of the existing 12’ ceiling height as a means of manipulating the viewer’s perception of space. The installation requires the viewer to inhabit it. The viewer needs to take the time to sit, to let their body fall into the bench and have their eyes adjust to the darkness.

In this quiet place of contemplation, they can then notice the voids and the cycle of light highlighted above as they breathe in the unexpected, subtle but overwhelming, scent of cedar.


Interior Design – Temporary or Portable

Honorable Mention

Project: Blue Note

Designer: Plant Architect Inc.

Client: Nightswimming

Blue Note is a collaboration between theatre artists, musicians, and architects to create a live installation.

The audience enters the gallery mid-rehearsal, and shares the space with a group of singers rehearsing challenging new pieces of music interspersed with scripted text, while moving individually or collectively around the space. The form and order of the performance change daily and are activated by the public, players and the architectural, emotional and narrative content of the piece.

A visual narrative of colour and text fragments, moveable benches, and malleable light and acoustic devices, add a physical dimension to the performance, and can be activated by the players or the audience/visitor. The lighting creates theatrical action, rather than highlighting scripted action.

Marked by white vinyl on the floor and gloss white wall paint, motion triggered lights create instantaneous spatial interruptions in the otherwise dark space, activated by audience and performers.

Next: Landscape >>




Project: Dymaxion Sleep

Designer: Jane Hutton and Adrian Blackwell

Client: Refford Gardens/Jardins De Métis International Garden Festival

Dymaxion Sleep was selected to be constructed as part of the 10th Edition of the International Garden Festival at the Jardins de Métis.

Function. Dymaxion Sleep is a structure of nets suspended above a field of aromatic plants. Rather than walking through the garden, visitors are able to lie on top of it, so that the typically solitary experience of sleeping in a garden is translated into a public event. The Jardins de Métis/Reford Gardens is a significant cultural and tourist attraction in the Gaspé region of Quebec.

The gardens provide a strong economic base for the area, attracting 100,000 visitors every year, and pairing with local businesses and artists to highlight connections between its horticultural history, and Gaspesian cuisine, cultural heritage, and landscape.

All the plants were started in the gardens and all steel and net fabrication was done on site to minimize transportation of materials.

square charon_6square charon_7



Project: Square Des Frères-Charon

Designer: Affleck + de la Riva

Client: City of Montréal, Direction des Grands Parcs et de la Nature en Ville

Built as a response to the urban revitalisation of a disaffected industrial sector, Square des Frères-Charon is an entirely new public amenity in a space that is more than 150 years old.

The square provides identity, civic pride, and generous outdoor areas for all-season public use. While modest in scale and budget, the square is an essential component of McGill Street’s larger network of historic spaces, and is a key element in Montreal’s cultural tourism branding strategy.

The project uses a simple, refined, and minimalist architectural language to create a dialogue between circular and cylindrical forms, including a garden of wild grasses, the vestiges of the windmill and a park pavilion in the form of a belvedere-folly. Complementing these gestures, the lighting scheme proposes a chromatic garden that alludes to the changing seasons.

Sustainable initiatives include the planting of local species of wild grasses and the use of durable Quebec granite.




Project: West Toronto Railpath

Designer: Scott Torrance Landscape Architect Inc. with Brown and Storey Architects Inc.

Client: City of Toronto, Economic Development, Culture and Tourism Department

The West Toronto Railpath is a two kilometer greenway running from Dupont to Dundas West on the alignment of a former rail corridor that has been transformed into a new public space, adding to the city’s growing bicycle network of trails.

The project team, composed of landscape architects, urban designers, architects, artist, civil engineers, electrical engineers, and arborists worked closely with steel fabrication artists and specialists in indigenous planting. The Railpath has created a two kilometer new frontage where new residential units can be located, working symbiotically with the parkway to open up an intercity area of former industrial lands, and by invigorating employment districts. The trail surface itself branches into smaller walkways and gardens along the route to provide resting spots.

The landscape of the railpath has been designed to require a minimum of maintenance, allowing the landscape to grow naturally, water-fed by carefully designed swales, with indigenous plant species.

Trinity Quadrangle _6Trinity Quadrangle _7


Honorable Mention

Project: Trinity College Quadrangle

Designer: gh3

Client: Trinity College

The object of this commission was to renew the existing quadrangle, to rationalize circulation and to accommodate a broad range of social activities, while recognizing the architecture of the historic Trinity College. It is a place to which students, staff and alumni have a remarkably strong connection and has become a significant part of the College’s image.

The renewal of the Quadrangle is in the form of a modern design that is developed out of deference to Trinity’s Anglican heritage and the traditions of medieval and gothic courtyards. The patterned surface of the Quadrangle is based on the iconic early Christian symbol of the chi, superimposed over the central lawn to create an ornamented ground plane. The imprinted central lawn is the focus and the unifying element in the space.

More than 80 years after Trinity College was relocated from Trinity Bellwoods Park the new Quadrangle completes the College’s architecture.



Honorable Mention

Project: Victoria University Forecourt

Designer: PMA Landscape Architects Ltd.

Client: Victoria University in the University of Toronto

The site consists of a courtyard enclosed by Emmanuel College, Queenʼs Park Crescent and Northrop Frye Hall to the east.

At Emmanuel College, an elliptical layout proved the most efficient in terms of moving people through the space, while still respecting the historic façade as a visual terminus. Issues of accessibility and long-term sustainability were the driving force behind the Forecourt renovation. Cost-wise, upgrading the paving from a deteriorating natural stone to a heavy-duty stamped concrete reduces the need to repair heaved stone, particularly considering that maintenance vehicles frequently access the Forecourt. Replacing the non-compliant staircase with a 5% sloped walkway provides improved circulation for students as well as being cost efficient. All seatwalls were custom designed to discourage skateboarders.

The designer worked with maintenance staff to salvage existing vegetation for replanting after the hard landscape works were complete.

Next: Urban Design >>

Shops at Don Mills_Image 6Shops at Don Mills_Image 7

Urban Design


Project: Shops at Don Mills

Designer: Rudy Adlaf for The Cadillac Fairview Corporation in collaboration with Giannone Petricone Associates Inc. Architects and pellow + associates architects inc.

Client: The Cadillac Fairview Corporation Ltd.

The Shops at Don Mills (SDM) is a large-scale urban infill project replacing an outdated indoor shopping centre with a 12-acre, outdoor mixed-use commercial development. SDM is meant to be a catalyst for the renewal of the Don Mills area. Much like the original retail centre, it is the heart of Don Mills’ “garden city” neighbourhood.

It offers the community an accessible, pedestrian-friendly node infused with eclectic experiences including festivals, events and spaces for leisure, hospitality and shopping. Streets are pedestrian-scaled and offer on-street parking and generous landscaped sidewalks shaded by canopies. There are colourful all-season plantings, pedestrian-scaled lighting standards, and useful amenities such as benches, bike-racks and directional graphics. Rolled curbs, bollards, textured paving, art and street furniture promote accessibility.

Density of the design and strategic intensity of the site allow for future residential development completing the true mixed-use intent of the project.

Place des Festivals_6Place des Festivals_7

Urban Design


Project: Place des Festivals – Quartier des Spectacles

Designer: Daoust Lestage Inc.

Client: Ville de Montréal

Historically home to Montreal’s red light district, theatres, and museums, the project demonstrates the ability of cultural momentum to shape urban redevelopment.

La Place des Festivals captures the transient nature of the festival, drawing the playfulness of nightlife into the daily experience of the city. The project has created a permanent setting for festivals and cultural events such as, Montreal’s International Jazz Festival and the Just for Laughs Festival. The new urban plateau of 12 000 square metres, capable of hosting 25000 people, functions as a formal setting for festivals, equipped with lights, wiring and cabling, and as a stage for public life throughout the remainder of the year. The project contains the largest interactive fountain in Canada, composed of 235 jets and 470 lights.

In winter, signature lighting elements enhance the sculptural presence of the trees and create a reflective play of light on surfaces of snow and granite.


Urban Design


Project: Lakeview Legacy Project

Designer: John Danahy Centre for Landscape Research

Client: Lakeview Ratepayers Association

The project included a strategy to establish an unbroken 7km of public waterfront, recapture the original shoreline and add destination uses in Lakeview, Mississauga, backed by a walkable compact place of employment, education, and affordable sustainable housing.

Opportunities to intensify employment and population by an additional 15,000 people were tied to the plan of improving transit and retail. The rich heritage of Canada’s first airport, military firing ranges, and Small Arms Factory, are core elements of the sense of place and symbolic strategy for Lakeview.

The project vision was driven bottom up by leadership from within the community and a culture of citizen-based design thinking permeated the process.

Innovative design software developed by the urban designer allowed people to explore the feasibility of various ideas and to communicate their vision to politicians at the Municipal and Provincial level to gain support for their bold vision.

Related Articles:

Last Updated on Friday, 27 November 2009 09:50