The winners of 2013 Niagara Community Design Awards were announced at the Stone Mill Inn in St. Catharines. This is the ninth year for the Region’s Niagara Community Design Awards which recognize and celebrate excellence in design in Niagara and highlights projects that demonstrate the application of Smart Growth Principles. The awards continue to focus on projects that enhance the built environment, efficiently use land, and demonstrate creativity and vision.
The award categories include Small Scale Project, Larger Scale Project, Public Realm Improvement, Architecture – Small Budget, Sustainability, Façade Improvement, and Brownfield.
Smaller Scale Project
The winner was 1471 Pelham Street, Pelham.Completed in 2011, the infill development with four retail units and three bachelor apartments filled a hole in the Fonthill streetscape. The developers were able to take advantage of available Community Improvement Plan funding, and have made every effort to make the building approachable on both facades – the one that faces Pelham Street and the other that backs onto Town Square Boulevard.
The 2013 Honourable Mention was Studio 55, Niagara Falls.The project has offered additional space to expand the business operation, while transforming the street face of the building. The review committee considered the project a strong catalyst for redevelopment opportunities along Portage Road.
Larger Scale Project
Mariner Bay Estates, Grimsby received the award in this category.Initiated in 2006, the project has transformed a portion of the marina property to accommodate eight townhouses, two semi-detached units, and thirteen stacked bungalows, each with a private boat slip. Each of the four development blocks includes a careful consideration of its location that blend well with the site, while providing choice of style and size of units and features for the residents. The development was noted for its attention to detail, pleasing appearance, and unique offerings to residents.
Public Realm Improvement
For this category, the winner was Pelham Arches.Originally created as a temporary structure in celebration of Pelham Summer fest, the community has since decided to retain the distinctive arches that create a link between Town Square Boulevard and Pelham Street.The arches offer a unique feature to Fonthill that came about as a result of a tremendous amount of community support and volunteerism. The arches are noted for their distinctiveness, ability to engage the community in their creation, and success as a hub for activity in the Town.
Architecture – Small Budget
42 Mountain Street, St. Catharineswon the award. This infill development opportunity, located on an irregularly-shaped lot at the base of the Escarpment, offered an architectural challenge that has led to the creation of a residence that notonly fits the site but also the neighbourhood. The design utilizes many energy efficient techniquesand materials, includes many architectural features that provide the residents with additional spaceand enjoyment, and showcases a well-developed landscape plan that highlights the building’s characteristics. Theproject was noted for its use of a difficult site to create a strong presence on thestreet face that features many outdoor private areas for the residents to enjoy.
In this category, the winner was Vale Health & Wellness Centre, Port Colborne.
Completed in 2012, the health and wellness centre reutilizes lands that formerly housed aging arenasand replaced them with a 145,000 square foot multi-purpose facility that houses the local YMCA andtakes advantage of the existing baseball diamonds and soccer fields located on-site. The facilitywas built to LEED Gold Certification, and features heat recovery systems, indoor water use reduction,and the combined use of natural and high efficiency lighting. During the construction, storm watermanagement, site access by the public, light pollution reduction, and construction waste reductionwere also considered and addressed. The project was noted for its use of the existing recreationalsite that creates a strong community recreation focal point, the location of the building close to thestreet and the attention to details that will make the facility sustainable through the long-term.
51 Front Street South, Thorold, won the award in this category. Completed at the end of 2012, this façade improvement merges historic features on the upperstories with a more contemporary design on the ground floor. The project contains two apartmentsand one commercial unit, providing additional choice within the downtown core, and tookadvantage of available funds to redevelop the façade within the Community Improvement Planarea. This façade treatment was noted for its retention of the historic rhythmic pattern of thewindows on the upper floors, while providing an interesting and inviting entrance to the building.
The honourable mention was Grimsby Fire Hall. This façade redevelopment project looked back to the history of Grimsby for its inspiration torevitalize the building to reflect its former civic use. By reestablishing the features of the former firehall, this redevelopment has created a workable building that suits its current use as the localChamber of Commerce, while also offering a residential unit above. The distinctive fire doors offeran opportunity for the Chamber to open its doors and provide added functionality for events andactivities. This project was noted for its consideration of the heritage of the Town, how it has used thisconcept for the current use of the site, and the catalyst opportunities of this redevelopment for thedowntown community improvement plan area of Grimsby.
95 Lakeport Road – Lakeport Dental, St. Catharineswas the winner. Originally submitted under Adaptive Reuse, the redevelopment project has transformed the existingbuilding and site through extensive redesign and site remediation to create two commercial units ina unified building. The site remediation was extensive, requiring a full clean-up and significantmodifications to the former gas station, repair shop and restaurant buildings.The resulting commercial building features a dental office and another commercial unitthat is close to the street, incorporates landscaping and limited parking on the site,while providing an open and inviting façade to customers.