Last week an audience gathered at the Art Gallery of Ontario to celebrate the winners of the 2014 Pug Awards, to congratulate the winning participants in this year's Pug Ed school programme, and to enjoy a Pug Talk. Co-founded by Anna Simone, Principal at renowned interior design firm Cecconi Simone, and Gary Berman, President of real estate investment firm Tricon Capital Partners, the Pug Awards have acted at Toronto's Peoples Choice Awards for Architecture for the past ten years. The annual awards ceremony has become a chance for Torontonians to celebrate the best of the city's newest architecture, while engaging in a lively discussion.

This year's event started with a presentation by Lynn Osmond, President and CEO of the Chicago Architecture Foundation, (CAF), the world's largest organization dedicated to promoting architecture and design in its own city. Osmond highlighted Chicago's architectural legacy, the committed patronage of Chicago's builders, architectural literacy of Chicago residents, and the educational programs and tours which the CAF runs year round. The CAF is best know for its Chicago River Cruise architectural tour, a "must do" for visitors to that city.

Anna Simone, Lynn Osmond, and Jennifer Keesmaat talk Toronto vs. Chicago, PugsAnna Simone, Lynn Osmond, and Jennifer Keesmaat talk Toronto vs. Chicago, image by Joy von Tiedemann

Following the presentation, Anna Simone moderated a talk with both Osmond and Toronto's Chief Planner Jennifer Keesmaat about building an architectural legacy for Toronto. Ms. Simone put several challenging questions to Osmond and Keesmaat before opening up mikes for questions from the floor. Ms. Keesmaat's overall message from the evening was that Toronto has had trouble embracing big ideas the way that Chicago has, but that with official plans in place and new guidelines in preparation—along with a deepening appreciation in Toronto of architecture—that better planned and designed buildings are coming for this city. 

This sense of optimism was shared by Pug Awards Co-Founder Anna Simone. She noted that “these last ten years [of the Pug Awards] have left us with an enormous amount of pride, and we have the public to thank for that. Our goal for the future is to continue to foster architectural literacy through Pug Ed and Pug Talks and to strengthen our relationship with the public through our website and e-blasts. Our commitment to increasing awareness and to achieving architectural excellence in Toronto is stronger than ever, made possible by the committed interest and support of all Torontonians.”

Pug Ed winners with Teachers, Vice-Principals, Principals, Jack Zhu, and Pug RepPug Ed winners with Teachers, Vice-Principals, Principals, Jack Zhu, and Pug Representatives, image by Joy von Tiedemann

Following the talk, Doug Convoy (standing fourth from the left above) and Marie Girolamo (standing on the right) hosted the Pug Ed portion of the evening. Jack Zhu (standing second from the left), a past Pug Ed winner and now Queen's University student, spoke about the difference that having participated in Pug Ed had made in his life and how it had opened his eyes to the importance of good urban design and an engaging city.

Now in its 8th year, Pug Ed involves Toronto Grade 7 and 8 students in an exploration of the city’s built form. Pre-recorded presentations by leading Toronto design and development professionals and teacher-led field trips are followed by a student design competition. Participating students prepared a complete re-development proposal for one of three urban sites in Toronto and presented it visually, with digital renderings and scale models, verbally and in written form to invited judges on May 28th and June 4th.

There were seven winners this year, six of who are pictured in two rows in the image above. Three were from Queen Alexandra Middle School, three from Jesse Ketchum Public School, along with a Pug Ed Grand Prize winner. The winners from Queen Alexandra Middle School were Kazim Hussain, Pradeep Srikugathasan and Anamol Pokhrel. The winners from Jesse Ketchum Public School were Austin Munro, Pasha Celik and Aiden Kang. The Pug Ed Grand Prize winner this year was Ijlaal Shah from Queen Alexandra Middle School. Each student received an official Pug Ed certificate and generous monetary award, which they may apply to their post-secondary studies.

Following Pug Ed, it was on with the winners of this year's People Choice Awards for Architecture. Three awards were given for residential architecture, three for commercial and institutional. Another award celebrates the adaptive reuse of heritage structures in new ways. Gary Berman and Anna Simone were on hand to host the awards while last years' winners in the residential and commercial/institutional categories were invited back to congratulate this year's winners.

Clear Spirit Condos at the Distillery, design by architectsAlliance, TorontoClear Spirit Condos at the Distillery, design by architectsAlliance, image by Marcus Mitanis

Receiving an honourable mention for residential architecture was Clear Spirit at the Distillery, a condominium tower designed by architectsAlliance for developers Cityscape and Dundee Realty.

Representatives of Clear Spirit Condos accept their award, Pug Awards, TorontoRepresentatives of Clear Spirit Condos accept their award, image by Joy von Tiedemann

Representatives of architectsAlliance, Dundee, and Cityscape received certificates from representatives of Core Architects and Freed Developments whose project 500 Wellington West was the winner in 2013.

Market Wharf Condominiums, design by architectsAlliance, Pug Awards, TorontoMarket Wharf Condominiums, design by architectsAlliance, image by Jack Landau

Receiving an honourable mention and runner up for the best residential architecture was Market Wharf, a condominium development also designed by architectsAlliance, this time for Context Development.

Representatives of Market Wharf Condominiums accept their Pug Award, TorontoRepresentatives of Market Wharf Condominiums accept their award, image by Joy von Tiedemann

Representatives of architectsAlliance and Context Development received certificates from representatives of Core Architects and Freed Developments, 2013's winner.

River City Phase 1 Condos, design by Saucier + Perrotte Architects, Pug AwardsRiver City Phase 1 Condos, design by Saucier + Perrotte Architects, image by Mafalda Boy

The award for best residential architecture this year was given to River City Phase One, a condominium development designed by Saucier + Perrotte Architectes of Montreal and ZAS Architects of Toronto for developer UrbanCapital.

Representatives of River City Condos accept their Pug Award, TorontoRepresentatives of River City Condos accept their award, image by Joy von Tiedemann

Representatives of Saucier + Perrotte Architects, ZAS Architects and UrbanCapital received certificates from representatives of Core Architects and Freed Developments, 2013's winner.

Peter Gilgan Centre, design by Diamond Schmitt Architects, Pug Awards TorontoPeter Gilgan Centre, design by Diamond Schmitt Architects, image by wmedia

Receiving an honourable mention for commercial or institutional architecture was The Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning, designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects for  the Hospital for Sick Children.

Representatives of the Peter Gilgan Centre accept their Pug Award, TorontoRepresentatives of the Peter Gilgan Centre accept their award, image by Joy von Tiedemann

Representatives of Diamond Schmitt Architects and the Hosiptal for Sick Children received certificates from representatives of ERA Architects, Stantec Architecture and Toronto Police Services whose project 11 Division Headquartes was the winner in this category in 2013.

Goldring Student Centre, design by Moriyama Teshima Architects, Pugs, TorontoGoldring Student Centre, design by Moriyama Teshima Architects, image by Craig White

Receiving an honourable mention and runner up for the best commercial or institutional architecture was The Goldring Student Centre at Victoria University and the renovation of Wymilwood, Vic's pre-existing student centre. Design is by Moriyama & Teshima Architects.

Representatives of the Goldring Student Centre accept their Pug Award, TorontoRepresentatives of the Goldring Student Centre accept their award, image by Joy von Tiedemann

Representatives of Moriyama & Teshima and Victoria University received certificates from representatives of ERA Architects, Stantec Architecture and Toronto Police Services whose project 11 Division Headquarters was 2013's winner.

Bridgepoint Hospital, design by Stantec, KPMB, HDR, DSAI, Ventin, ERA, Pug AwardBridgepoint Hospital, design by Stantec, KPMB, HDR, DSAI, Ventin, and ERA, image by Yonderbean

The award for best commercial or institutional architecture this year was given to Bridgepoint Active Healthcare, a re-development of the former Riverside Hospital, designed by a huge team comprised of Stantec Architecture and KPMB Architects—Planning, Design and Compliance Architects; HDR Architecture and Diamond Schmitt Architects—Design, Build, Finance and Maintain Architects; Ventin Group Ltd. and ERA Architects—Heritage architects; and developed the Plenary Group. Representatives of the architects and developer received certificates from representatives of 2013's winner.

Representatives of Bridgepoint Hospital accept their Pug Award, TorontoRepresentatives of Bridgepoint Hospital accept their award, image by Joy von Tiedemann

Bridgepoint was also the recipient of the 2014 Paul Oberman Award for Adaptive Reuse and Heritage Restoration as a major component of the redevelopment was the celebrated restoration and adaptation of the historic Don Jail as the administration wing for the Healthcare centre.

It was announced by Gary Berman near the end of the evening that a special vote was called this year to honour the best of the best of the Pugs winners from over the years, one award for each of the residential and commercial/institutional categories.

500 Wellington West Condos, design by Core Architects, Pug Awards, Toronto500 Wellington West Condos, design by Core Architects, image by urbandreamer

Awarded the Best of the Best for Residential Architecture from the past 10 years was 2013's winner, 500 Wellington West.

Representatives of 500 Wellington West accept their Pug Award, TorontoRepresentatives of 500 Wellington West accept their Best of the Best Award, image by Joy von Tiedemann

Representatives of Core Architects and Freed Developments were happy to accept the award.

Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art, design by KPMB Architects, Pug Awards, TorontoGardiner Museum of Ceramic Art, design by KPMB Architects, image by Hypnotoad

Awarded the Best of the Best for Commercial or Institutional Architecture from the past 10 years was 2007's winner, the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art.

Shirley Blumberg (third from left) accepts the Best of the Best Pugs AwardShirley Blumberg (third from left) accepts the Best of the Best Award, image by Joy von Tiedemann

On hand to accept with award was a representative of KPMB Architects.

Gary Berman speaks at the Pug X Closing Ceremonies, image by Joy van TiedemannGary Berman speaks at the Pug X Closing Ceremonies, image by Joy von Tiedemann

The evening ended with Pugs co-founder Gary Berman's announcement that the People's Choice for Architecture Awards had come to an end, and that the organization would turn its attention in the future to bringing attention to the sad state of Toronto's public realm, looking to improve the space between Toronto's buildings. Berman was happy that based on the public's voting over the last 10 years the state of architecture has improved in Toronto, but drew attention to the public's dissatisfaction overall with residential architecture, while more commercial and institutional buildings in the city were finding favour comparatively. Berman called on developers and architects to do what it takes to improve further.

The full list of results for this year's Pug Awards follows:

FINAL RANKINGS FOR ALL NOMINEES

Residential

Positive Scores

1. River City – Phase 1

2. Market Wharf

3. Clear Spirit at the Distillery

4. The Ninety

5. Toronto Community Housing Corporation, Block 32

6. ThirtyTwo Camden 7. The King East

Negative Scores

8. Art Condos

9. Charlie Condominium

10. The Berczy

11. Liberty Market Lofts

12. Parade at Concord CityPlace

13. The Florian

14. Garrison at Fort York

15. Sync Lofts

16. The Rushton Residences

17. Twenty One Clairtrell

18. Couture The Condominium

19. Fly Condominiums

20. Minto775 King West

21. Lofts 399

22. Gramercy Park

23. 300 Front

24. Cinema Tower

25. 8 Gladstone

26. Ventus II at Metrogate

27. The Palm Condominium Residences

28. Liberty on the Park Condominiums

29. King West Condominiums in Liberty Village

30. The Avanti

31. Bridge & Connect Condos

32. Bravo Boutique Condominiums

Commercial or Institutional

Positive Scores

1. Bridgepoint Active Healthcare

2. Goldring Student Centre at Victoria University / Wymilwood Restoration

3. The Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning, The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids)

4. The Sisters of St. Joseph Residence

5. Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati Catholic School

6. Forensics Services and Coroner's Complex (FSCC)

7. MaRS Centre Phase 2, MaRS Discovery District

8. Krembil Discovery Tower

Negative Scores

9. Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

10. St. Ambrose Catholic School

11. St. Nicholas Catholic School