Winners of the 2023 Pella Windows and Doors Prize for Architecture

March 20, 2023

Four housing projects by undergraduate students at the Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism have received the 2023 Pella Windows and Doors Prize for Architecture. 


The scholarship, established by Pella Windows and Doors in 2020, recognizes students for demonstrating excellence in their fourth-year comprehensive studio project.  


Each of the 2023 winning projects receives $700. 


“We are extremely grateful to the Pella Corporation for its five-year commitment,” said studio coordinator Associate Professor Benjamin Gianni. 


“As housing is such a crucial issue in Canada and around the world, we’re delighted that these prizes can be directed to this studio, in which students have the opportunity to explore the architect’s role in the production of housing and the design of the urban and public realms.” 


The studio explored the redevelopment of three sites:


•  A city block in Hintonburg bounded by Parkdale Avenue to the east, Armstrong Street to the south, Spencer Street to the north, and Hamilton Avenue to the west;


•  A large complex of rental housing in Ottawa close to an LRT station;


•  A lot at 250 Montreal Road in Vanier.

Vanier 250

Ben Merritt and Meaghan Dickson


Vanier 250 is a community housing project on Montreal Road is intended to help revitalize Ottawa’s Vanier neighbourhood. The project caters to a diverse community through different types of dwelling units, with an emphasis on proper living conditions for Ottawa’s Indigenous population. At grade, the development encourages the surrounding community to engage with the buildings’ social, commercial, and communal spaces and navigate through a central, stepped courtyard. Two buildings surround the courtyard: the mid-rise oriented at the south of the site containing dwellings to accommodate larger families and intergenerational living arrangements, and the larger tower at the north end offering units for individuals and households of smaller sizes. 

Echo Development

Jacob Rusen-Steele and Alex Saucier


The Echo development doubles the residential density of an existing 21.4-acre site in Ottawa with two buildings. The urban intervention is guided by a new arterial street that wraps around the central park, a seamless increase in density from the south to the north, and extensions to the existing park to create a continuous greenspace. The Cove is a mixed-income residential development with 320 units, focused on creating human-scaled spaces, pedestrian pathways, and ground-oriented units. The Inlet offers a courtyard adjacent to the development’s park while preserving sight lines through the site. The building’s concrete base houses ground-oriented units, while its CLT and glulam construction floors accommodate a variety of flats.

The Passage

Alicia Koch and Gillian Christidis


The Passage is a community housing development located adjacent to the Parkdale Market in the Hintonburg neighbourhood of Ottawa. The Passage refers to a large courtyard that flows through the site. It is outlined by a wooden river element that creates a visual connection to the Parkdale market. The natural courtyard is a focal point and is meant to be a space of connection featuring an indoor-outdoor market space for local artisans and vendors. The multi-use project aims to revitalize the Hintonburg community and draw a wide demographic. The project features a high-rise and a mid-rise tower, offering affordable, market, and student housing. 

Project Quadrata

Frederic Dellanoy and Saruga Raveendran

Project Quadrata is a proposal for the block north of the Parkdale market in the Hintonburg neighbourhood. The two towers are built of mass timber and host commercial and residential activity. The design follows a modular theme of the cube. With the cubes angled at 45 degrees to break from the shape of the block, the pedestrian realm becomes dynamic and invites exploration of the interior courtyard. On the eastern part of the site, the Carleton Tavern is preserved and included in the design. This proposal offers over 200 units ranging from studios to three-bedroom units, mixing a wide range of inhabitants. The terraces support communal gardens to provide fresh food to residents.

The projects were nominated by the five professors and instructors who taught the studio in the Fall of 2022: Benjamin Gianni, Sheryl Boyle, Honorata Pienkowska, Eric Archambault, and Piper Bernbaum.


The housing studio brings together students from all three undergraduate majors – Design, Urbanism, Conservation, and Sustainability.


This year, the school was privileged to work with three partners: two for-profit developers — Taggart Realty and Minto Communities — and a not-for-profit indigenous housing provider, Gignul Non-Profit Housing Corporation.


“As coordinator of the fourth-year comprehensive (Housing and City-Building) studio, I’m thrilled that we have three sets of prizes available to recognize our students’ work,” said Associate Professor Benjamin Gianni. 


“The Pella and Chinese Professionals prizes differ from the Hobin Prize to the extent that they are juried by the instructors themselves, who look at all projects produced in the studio, not just a limited number of nominees,” he said.  “As we are looking at work from the ‘inside,’ we bring a different but complementary perspective to the choices we make.”