One of the more interesting, informative and realistic awards we have to honour — or dishonour — architecture here in the GTA is the Pug Awards. This year marks their 8th Annual People's Choice Awards for architecture, and they want to know what projects over the past year you love, like or hate.

8th Annual Pug Awards Logo

2011 was a huge year for architecture in Toronto. We saw the completion of a number of buildings including the PwC Tower, The Ritz-Carlton, St. Michael's Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, Beyond the Sea, James Cooper Mansion, and One Bedford, as well as countless other projects around the GTA. All in all, the Pugs list 44 buildings and ask what you think of their design.

Ritz-Carlton Hotel and Condo in Toronto by Graywood and Page + Steele ArchitectProject rendering for Ritz-Carlton Toronto, image courtesy of Graywood

While some chastise the Pugs for being unduly harsh on architects and developers, they're work is not meant to offend but rather hold accountable those players who are influential in determining our communal built environment. A critical voice is necessary to ensure we continue to make progress in architecture and remain globally competitive, rather than becoming stangnant and overtly self-assured.

One Bedford in Toronto by Lanterra with KPMB Architects.Project rendering for One Bedford, image courtesy of Lanterra

To guide your judgements, Pugs asks you to consider factors such as design and exterior details, context, and innovation. While a well-informed and educated opinion is inherently more valuable, it would be misguided to pretend that the majority of us don't draw our opinion of a building within the first few minutes of seeing it. Regardless of how you come to your conclusions, be sure to head on over to the Pug Awards website here to register and cast your vote. We'll be following the awards closely this year, and will be sure to keep you updated with the finalists and winners — as well as the losers — when the results are released.