Urban Design Awards

By-Law Number
CPOL.-167(a)-162
As Amended by

Legislative History: Enacted September 19, 2017 (By-law No. CPOL.-167-419); Amended June 26, 2018 (By-law No. CPOL.-335-326); Amended June 11, 2019 (By-law No. CPOL.-167(a)-162)

Last Review Date: March 21, 2019

Service Area Lead: Manager- City Building & Design

1. Policy Statement

The City of London Urban Design Awards Program is intended to recognize, celebrate and inspire design excellence in the City of London. Awards will be granted for exceptional projects that represent visionary thinking and “raise the bar” for design excellence in London.

Urban Design Awards will be granted once every two years. City Planning will be responsible for administering this program in accordance with the Terms of Reference.

At the conclusion of the Awards process, a ceremony will be held for the purpose of recognizing and celebrating winners of the Urban Design Awards and for promoting the urban design agenda in the community as a whole.

The winning submission(s) of the London Urban Design Awards will be automatically submitted to the RAIC (Royal Architectural Institute of Canada) National Urban Design Awards program, which are held in the year between of the biennial London Urban Design Awards. This will be an opportunity for local developers, architects, urban designers, as well as the City to showcase their developments and compete for Urban Design Awards at the national level.

2. Definitions

Not applicable.

3. Applicability

Projects are eligible for an Urban Design Award where they are developed up to 5 years prior to the awards year. Submissions for Awards can be submitted by a project owner, a member of the team that is associated with the project, a member of Council, a member of municipal staff, or a member of the general public. To be eligible for an Award, submissions must be received by the City of London City Planning office within the prescribed deadline date and all entries must meet submission requirements. It should be clear that public projects, including those developed by the City of London, are eligible for awards.

4. The Policy

4.1 SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS

Submissions will only be accepted where they meet the following requirements:

  • An abstract of the project is provided to explain its design qualities and how this project significantly adds to the quality of the public realm in London. The abstract should also touch on those items that are outlined in the relevant awards category descriptions below (Section 7). This abstract is to be provided in the electronic format specified by the City.
  • Two display boards maximum (sizes will be specified).
  • A photo slide show, not exceeding 50 photographs, illustrating the design qualities of the project described in the abstract. This slide show is to be provided in the electronic format specified by the City.

These submissions will allow for submissions to be presented on the City’s web site, and also allow for innovative display techniques for the awards ceremony and circulation of the awards.

All materials submitted to the City of London become property of the City of London and will not be returned to the applicant. Furthermore, submission of materials implies consent for the City of London to disseminate such materials at the sole discretion of the City.

4.2 AWARDS PROCESS

A call for submissions will be issued in spring of an Awards year. City Planning will engage in a rigorous process to raise awareness in the community that the City has issued a call for Urban Design Awards submissions. This may include, but is not limited to, advertising in newspapers, use of the City’s web site, mail-outs to members of the design, architecture, landscape architecture, planning, and development industry. It may also include other vehicles, such as the preparation of a poster or other such materials, to raise awareness of the Awards, and the agenda for urban design excellence in London.

Judging of the projects will occur in summer of the Awards year. This will allow for judges to view projects including vegetation in a state of full bloom. The jury will compile a short list of projects from amongst the entries submitted. City Planning staff will arrange for the jury to visit the sites of the projects on the short list.

It shall be at the sole discretion of the jury to determine whether or not Awards will be recommended in any or all of the awards categories in a given year. A maximum of 5 urban design awards will be granted, except in exceptional circumstances. Awards will be granted in autumn of the Awards year.

City Planning staff will disseminate information relating to the award winning projects through the use of various mediums, including, but not limited to: web site posting, posters or other publications relating to the next design awards call for submissions, displays in prominent public spaces, etc.

4.3 AWARDS PRESENTATION

Awards will be presented to the Urban Design Award winners at a ceremony, which may combine other activities intended to advance the agenda for urban design excellence in London. Those earning honourable mention will also be congratulated at this ceremony. Two awards will be given to each award winning team. Additional awards can be ordered by winners for additional members of the team, at a cost to the winners which covers the expense of the City purchasing these awards.

4.4 URBAN DESIGN AWARDS JURY

An Urban Design Awards Jury, made up as follows, will be established annually by the City.

Voting Members:

  • The Chair of the Planning Committee of Council or an appointed designate
  • The President of the London Society of Architects or an appointed designate
  • The Chair of the Southwestern Ontario District of the Ontario Professional Planners Institute or an appointed designate
  • The President of the London Branch of the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects or an appointed designate
  • An Urban Designer from outside the community (who is not involved with any projects under consideration)

Limitations:

  • No member of the Jury shall serve for more than 3 consecutive design award terms.
  • No member of the jury shall be related, in any substantive way, to any projects under consideration.

Chair:

  • The jury will elect from amongst its Members a Chair and a Vice-Chair at its first meeting each year.

Designates:

  • Designates from any of the above groups will be accepted where jurors disqualify themselves from serving on the jury, where a jury member has already served three consecutive awards terms, or where the above-identified person cannot make himself/herself available for serving on the jury.

4.5 AWARDS CATEGORIES

The following Awards Categories and Awards are hereby established:

4.5.1 Buildings

An individual building, or a composition of buildings, which achieves urban design excellence through its relationship to the public realm, its massing, detailing and pedestrian amenity. Entrants should document and highlight how the building, or group of buildings, contributes to the quality of place. All types of buildings are eligible whether "landmark" or "background," new construction or a restoration/transformation. Building types could include: Main Street Mixed Use, Residential (multi-unit, apartment), Commercial, Institutional or Industrial.

The primary criteria for assessing the merit of entries in this category will be:

  • Positive contribution to the public realm/quality of place;
  • Architectural excellence;
  • Demonstration of fulfilling a clearly articulated urban design intent.

4.5.2 Buildings (Small Scale Residential)

A residential building, which achieves urban design excellence through its relationship to the surrounding neighbourhood, it’s massing, siting and detailing. Entrants should document and highlight how the building, contributes to the overall character as well as to the quality of place in the neighbourhood in which it is located. All types of small scale non-apartment residential buildings are eligible whether new construction or restoration/transformation. Building types could include single detached residential, townhouses, semi’s, 2-, 3-, or 4-plexes.

The primary criteria for assessing the merit of entries in this category will be:

  • Positive contribution to the character of the existing neighbourhood/quality of place;
  • Architectural excellence;
  • Demonstration of fulfilling a clearly articulated urban design intent.

4.5.3 Public Realm Enhancements

Elements can be defined as a stand-alone object, or landscape element which contributes significantly to the quality of the public realm. It should provide a memorable image, reinforce the human scale and enhance the character of the surrounding area.

Examples include:

  • Benches
  • Gateways
  • Light fixtures
  • Walkways
  • Fences
  • Work of art

4.5.4 Public Spaces and Landscapes

Public space - generally related to, and defined by, adjacent buildings or natural/manmade elements -- which provides an extension to the public realm in an exemplary way.

Examples are:

  • Courtyards
  • Plazas
  • Forecourts
  • Gardens
  • Trails
  • Mews
  • Parks

4.5.5  Large places and neighbourhoods

This includes designs for a new or renovated large-scale areas of the city. The project must be completed to such extent as 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 the plan creatively resolves and addresses multiple objectives and competing interests. The submission should also provide evidence of community involvement and acceptance.

Examples are:

  • Area plans
  • Subdivisions
  • Industrial parks
  • Campus plans
  • Streetscapes

4.5.6 Restoration, Rehabilitation and Adaptive Reuse

This includes renovated, restored and adaptively reused buildings and groups of buildings. Submissions should demonstrate urban design excellence through their relationship to the surrounding neighbourhood, interface with the public realm and ability to highlight the original character and historic elements of the building. The transformation should be visible on the exterior of the building(s).

The submissions in this category should clearly state the history and pre-construction conditions and uses of the building(s) and demonstrate the scope of work that was involved in the restoration, renovation or adaptive reuse.

Winning submissions in this category will be submitted under the most appropriate National Urban Design Awards category.

4.5.7 People’s Choice Award

One winner will be chosen from all of the submissions in all categories to receive a People’s Choice Award. All submissions will be considered for this award and a formal entry into this category is not required.

The winning entry will be selected by public voting held prior to the awards ceremony. City Planning staff will disseminate information relating to the People’s Choice Award through the use of various mediums, including, but not limited to: web site posting, posters, social media, etc. Voting will be conducted through online, in person and accessible methods. Voting will be open to all City of London residents.

Winning submissions in this category will not be eligible for the National Urban Design Awards hosted by RAIC, unless they have won in another category.

4.5.8 People’s Choice Award (Student)

Post-secondary students will be invited to submit urban design projects. Student projects may be hypothetical, but must be designs related to locations within the city of London. Submissions should demonstrate urban design excellence through their relationship to the surrounding neighbourhood, interface with the public realm, massing, detailing and pedestrian amenity. Submissions must include elements of the public realm as well as buildings.

The winning submission will be selected by public voting held during the Awards ceremony, or at an associated event. All event attendees will be eligible to vote. Dependent on the number of submissions, the jury may elect to shortlist the top entries.

Winning submissions in this category will not be eligible for the National Urban Design Awards hosted by RAIC.

It should be clear that these categories ARE INTENDED TO:

  • Explain what types of projects are eligible for an Urban Design Award;
  • Describe, in very general terms, how these projects will be evaluated; and
  • Help to encourage submissions that are of a very high quality.

It should be equally clear that these categories ARE NOT INTENDED TO:

  • Limit the number of awards that can be granted within a single category;
  • Require that an award be granted in every category where there is not a submission that warrants an award; and
  • Limit a submission to competing only against those projects that are within their category.

Where the Jury deems it to be appropriate, honourable mention will be given to those projects that did not win an award, but exhibited many excellent design traits worthy of recognition.

4.6 NATIONAL URBAN DESIGN AWARDS (HOSTED BY ROYAL ARCHITECTURAL INSTITUTE OF CANADA)

Following the Urban Design Awards ceremony the winning submissions will be given instructions as to how their projects can be submitted to the National Urban Design Awards program. The Submission requirements for the National Urban Design Awards can be found on the RAIC website.

Last modified:Tuesday, September 29, 2020