The City presented its annual Architecture and Urban Design awards at a gala dinner last week presided over by Mayor Miller and the city’s poet laureate Giorgio di Ciccio (no, we weren’t aware of this either). Of particular note: the coveted Building in Context Award of Excellence was presented to Will Alsop’s OCAD Sharp Centre, praised by the judges for being ‘cocky and attractively humorous, an element in the urban scene that holds its own with tough urbanity while allowing new public space to open up beneath it”. If by ‘new public space’, you mean being able to stand under the Centre’s Rainbow Brite legs staring skyward at the ‘modernism sucks’ graffiti, TOist agrees.
Also puzzling is the ‘Elements’ award given to fresh on Queen West. Sure, it’s a clever take on urban corner architecture, but to say that the Giannone Associates Architecture project celebrates ‘the lifestyle choices of its mostly young, creative clientele’ is really a bit of creative fiction. Surely there are more impressive restaurant-spaces to celebrate than this?
Also, the Pugly Awards were announced recently, full results are available here. While the Toronto Police 51 division (which took Best in Show) was probably not in the forefront of anyone’s idea of cutting-edge urban architecture, Dunlop Farrow’s gentle restoration of the historic space, preserving the turn-of-century skeleton while adding new bays, elevations and ventilation, is undoubtedly one of the most tasteful and intelligent projects a city of architectural show-offs has come up with. Worst in Show went to Wellington Square. Simply put, it’s a tasteless and unsightly condo building, but elaborating on this is like mentioning girls who still wear UGG boots-there are just too many around!