Ontario Association of Architects Reveals Design Excellence & Service Award Winners

OAA celebrates top projects by Ontario architects with People’s Choice voting and special online public event on Thursday, October 1

Toronto, ON
– The Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) has announced the winners of its 2020 Design Excellence Awards, as well as the recipients of this year’s Service Awards. On Thursday, October 1, a special online Celebration of Excellence will honour these individuals and this prestigious selection of projects—from innovative public pools and stunning Ontario homes to sustainably designed education spaces and well-crafted government projects.

The biennial OAA Awards program offers Ontario architects an opportunity to present their work to the public and to a professional audience, demonstrating the excellence of both their work and the profession as a whole. This year, the program began requiring Energy Use Intensity (EUI) metrics for all submissions, reflecting that sustainable design is no longer a specialty, but rather a critical component of all building projects as the architecture profession strives for climate stability.

“I’m so excited to finally be able to share the OAA’s 2020 award winners,” says OAA President Kathleen Kurtin. “This year has required a great deal of resiliency from us all. For the architecture profession, we needed to quickly and safely close offices and construction sites, and then find new ways to work remotely.”

“The Design Excellence projects showcase another example of resiliency—one that comes with creating beautiful spaces in which people can live, work, and play, while respecting the environment and acknowledging the need for long-term performance to address our climate change crisis,” she adds. “Whether you are a fellow architect or a member of the public interested in learning more about the thought that goes into building design, I encourage you to learn more about these stellar projects.”

Selecting from 79 eligible submissions, a jury of design and architecture experts chose the 10 winners, using criteria such as creativity, context, sustainability, business, and legacy. Throughout the week of September 14, these projects will be featured individually on the OAA’s YouTube channel with short vignettes to share more about the work involved. Then, a special online voting period will open on Friday, September 18, with members of the public encouraged to select their personal favourite among the 10 winners. The top selection will receive a People’s Choice Award as part of the OAA’s Celebration of Excellence.

Taking place on October 1 at 4:30 pm, the free, online Celebration of Excellence will also recognize winners of the Design Excellence and Service Awards listed below, as well as reveal the recipients of the Michael V. and Wanda Plachta Award and Lieutenant Governor's Award for Design Excellence in Architecture. More information on how to attend the Celebration, and vote for People’s Choice, will be shared on the OAA’s Awards page, along with its Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram channels.

2020 OAA Design Excellence Award Winners


Borden Park Natural Swimming Pool (Edmonton, Alta.) gh3 inc.

Photo Credit: gh3*

The Brearley School (New York City, N.Y.) KPMB Architects

Photo Credit: Nic Lehoux

Essex Centre of Research (Windsor, Ont.) Hariri Pontarini Architects

Photo Credit: doublespace

River City Phase 3 (Toronto, Ont.) Saucier + Perotte Architectes in joint venture with ZAS Architects

Photo Credit: Saucier+Perrotte Architectes / ZAS Architects

The Rob and Cheryl McEwen Graduate Study & Research Building, Schulich School of Business (Toronto, Ont.) Baird Sampson Neuert Architects Inc.

Photo Credit: Tom Arban

Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics, University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, Pa.) KPMB Architects

Photo Credit: Adrien Williams

Semi Semi (Toronto, Ont.) COMN Architects Inc.

Photo Credit: doublespace

Senate of Canada Building (Ottawa, Ont.) Diamond and Schmitt Architects Incorporated and KWC Architects Inc. in Joint Venture

Photo Credit: Tom Arban Photography

Trent University Student Centre (Peterborough, Ont.) Teeple Architects Inc.

Photo Credit: Andrew Latreille

Woodhouse (Singhampton, Ont.) Superkül Inc.
Photo Credit: Alex Fradkin

Order of da Vinci

Demonstrating exceptional leadership in the profession, education, and/or in the community
Toon Dreessen

Lifetime Design Achievement
An architect with a career-long commitment to the promotion and achievement of architectural design excellence
Blanche Lemco van Ginkel

 G. Randy Roberts Service Award

An OAA member providing extraordinary service to the membership, for ‘behind-the-scenes’ dedication and action, as well as employing the skills and the energy to get things done
Joe Lobko

Best Emerging Practice
A firm in practice for five years or fewer that demonstrates a clear vision, well-articulated goals, and proven effective strategies that provide a competitive advantage
Office Ou

2020 OAA Awards Juries
Design Excellence
Thomas Allen, Rebuild Hamilton and the Inlet
Darryl Condon, HCMA Architecture+Design
Tammy Gaber, Laurentian University’s McEwen School of Architecture
Steve Kulakowky, Core Urban
Richard Witt, Quadrangle Architects Limited

Best Emerging Practice, G. Randy Roberts Service Award, Order of da Vinci, and Lifetime Design Achievement
Heather Dubbeldam, Dubbeldam Architecture+Design
Yvonne Ip, Grand Valley Society of Architects
Kathleen Kurtin, OAA President
Diana Osborne, Osborne Architect 

Further Information

 OAA President Kathleen Kurtin, architects involved with the Design Excellence projects, and those receiving Service Awards are available for phone or email interviews. Additional information and high-resolution photos and credit information for all finalists are also available from the OAA. Please contact:
Erik Missio, OAA Communications Manager
416-449-6898, ext. 241

About the Ontario Association of Architects

 The Ontario Association of Architects is a self-regulating organization under the Architects Act, which is a statute of the Government of Ontario. It is dedicated to promoting and increasing the knowledge, skill, and proficiency of its members, and administering the Act, in order that the public interest may be served and protected