Cardboard Don tours city’s award-winning urban spaces (Urban Design Awards deadline: August 15)

A giant-sized cardboard cutout of Mayor Don Iveson made the rounds of the city earlier this month, turning heads and bringing attention to standout examples of urban spaces in Edmonton. 

“I’ve finally figured out how to be in two places at once,” said Mayor Iveson.

“All joking aside, this tour highlighted Edmonton’s incredible architects, designers, planners, artists and city visionaries who are working towards and imagining inclusive and beautifully-designed spaces in our city. I encourage every Edmontonian to get out and explore past winners, and to consider nominating other designs for consideration as part of this year’s Edmonton Urban Design Awards.”

Nominations from the public are now closed but submissions from designers can be submitted online until August 15.

On his tour, Cardboard Don visited seven locations that were previously recognized by the Edmonton Urban Design Awards. Here are some of the city builders he met along the way. 

Good design is good for business

Starting with a cup of coffee at Transcend in Ritchie Market, the Mayor met up with building architect and principal of Group2, Anneliese Fris, and Ritchie Market owner Greg Zeschuk.

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“It was a great honour to win an Edmonton Urban Design Award, particularly the People’s Choice Award because it means that the building has had a great impact on the community,” said Fris. “We designed this as a hub for neighbours to meet other neighbours. It has proven itself to be a very successful project in that regard.”

Fris said the awards bring attention to great design.

“The award recognition might even draw in folks from other parts of the city to visit these businesses and developments,” Fris said.

“It starts to make people aware of how architecture can contribute to the city. These types of initiatives help to draw in interest from across the nation, and helps to elevate the local architectural community to think outside the box and to challenge what is an expected level of architecture for everyone.”

Bottom line, the Ritchie Market helps build community in the neighbourhood. The mixed-use space is home to a local deli, restaurant and coffee shop. In 2017, Ritchie Market received an Award of Excellence in Urban Architecture, and clinched enough votes for recognition as the People’s Choice Award winner.

Cardboard Iveson then made his way to:

  • Ribbon of Steel (2009 Award of Excellence — Implemented Urban Design Plans)
  • Federal Building Plaza (2015 Award of Excellence — Civic Design)
  • Transition mural (2011 Award of Excellence — Urban Fragments)
  • AmiskwacÎw Wâskâyhkan Ihtâwin (2017 Award of Excellence — Urban Fragments)
  • Neon Sign Museum (2015 Award of Merit — Urban Fragments)
  • Enbridge Centre (2017 Award of Excellence — Heritage Design, Award of Merit – Civic Design)

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Giving people a reason to linger

“It was a privilege to be recognized amongst leading professionals and architects whose vision was to create a high quality and aesthetically pleasing public realm,” said Kevin McKee of Pangman Development during the visit to Enbridge Centre.

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“Enbridge Centre’s plaza has become a place where the public can enjoy a diversity of activities, an interesting and comfortable walking experience and will want to stay a while,” said McKee.

Celebrating Edmonton’s design community

Since 2005, the City of Edmonton has hosted the Edmonton Urban Design Awards, which recognize individuals, organizations, firms and projects that have contributed to architecture, urban design and the quality of life in Edmonton. 

An international jury from Winnipeg (Johanna Hurme, Brent Bellamy, Liz Wreford), Toronto (Antonio Gomez-Palacio) and New York (Marc Fornes) will convene in Edmonton in October to evaluate submissions and ultimately choose the top designs in this year’s competition.

The star-studded panel will also participate in a public presentation, inviting Edmontonians to hear why design matters, and why it’s good for community and investment.

Residents are encouraged to nominate their favourite projects, whether buildings, open spaces, streets or amenities that have made a difference in their neighbourhoods

“Our work is all for nothing if we don’t have submissions from Edmonton’s best projects — residents can help us by identifying the projects that they find valuable and meaningful in their daily lives,” said David Holdsworth, Chair of the Urban Design Awards Committee.

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