Winners of the 2023 Stantec Architecture Prize for Excellence

By Maria Cook

January 17, 2024


Twenty graduate students have received cash awards in the 2023 Stantec Architecture Prize for Excellence.


See the winning projects below.


Stantec’s Senior Associate Natalie Petricca and Intern Architect Michelle Harper, both alumni of the Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism, school, presented the awards on January 12 at the Architecture Building.


The ceremony honoured students from the fall 2022 and fall 2023 cohorts of Gateway Studio for their Urban Forestry Knowledge Centre projects.


The award recognizes projects that demonstrate excellent spatial and tectonic resolution befitting a professional program. 


Associate Professor Lisa Moffitt and Instructors Tom Leung and Mathieu Lemieux-Blanchard led the three Gateway Studio groups in 2023. Associate Professors Paul Kariouk and Lisa Moffitt led two Gateway Studio groups in 2022, assisted by Assistant Professor Jerry Hacker and Instructor Jay Lim. There are about 45 students per cohort.


The prize, established in 2007 by Stantec Architecture Ltd., is awarded annually. The jury members for the 2023 edition are practitioners who work at Stantec. “The work keeps getting stronger every year,” said Petricca.

2023 Stantec Prize Winners

First Place: $600
Ksheel Shetty

A nighttime scene depicting a modern, illuminated glasshouse architecture in a snowy urban setting with falling snowflakes.
Colorful architectural rendering of a glasshouse structure with a red framework, integrated vegetation, and surrounding landscape.

Project Description: The Arborline learning centre uses the rail as a tool to remediate the impact of deforestation through the distribution of tree samplings and the building. The building protrudes through the landscape allowing the saplings held on a vertical scaffolding system to be seen at all site lines, highlighting the trees as a beacon to heal and overturn its industrial environmental trauma.



Jury Comments: Amazing artistry. Beautiful graphics. Clear narrative. The drawings are enough to understand what is trying to be achieved. The site approach is well done.

First Place: $600

Ann-Catherine Lemonde

A collage of architectural models and diagrams in various scales and perspectives, monochrome and colored.
A collection of architectural sketches, photomontages, and floor plans for a building project.

Project Description: This project was inspired by Forêt Capitale Forest, an Ottawa-based non-profit, that uses the Miyawaki method to plant tiny, yet dynamic and biodiverse food-producing forests. Tree varieties are densely combined to create a soundproofing layer along Carling Ave. while a main circulation garden slices across all three sites. The greenhouses are divided into seven pods that allow for a variety of active and/or passive growing conditions.



Jury Comments: Good study of form shadow. Powerful three-site parti. Unique third site and development of the building; the north-south fingers are elegant. Regimented and clear. Perspectives are very compelling.

Second Place: $500

Sam Lane-Smith

Cross-sectional architectural drawing of a multi-tiered indoor farm structure with transparent walls and people.
Architectural visualization of a spacious indoor setting and an outdoor view with plant cultivation racks, and people.

Project Description: Tracing The Timber Line


The Timber Line is a mass timber greenhouse and education facility that acts as a central node in Ottawa’s reforestation efforts. Situated on what was once the Fraserfield Lumber Yard, the Timber Line references the stacks of lumber with its rows of sapling planters. Inside, the saplings have been arranged vertically, referencing this stacking, and allowing the public an intimate view in.



Jury Comments: Used the greenhouses to delineate public space and tried to use as few walls as possible. Historical research. Beautiful graphics. Nice models. Modelling and detail panel are very successful.

Third Place: $400

Marco Vukovic

A drawing of a modern elevated building above an urban street, with people and cars nearby.
A image of an indoor garden with potted plants, and trees in a glass and steel structure.

Project Description: Horizon


A large pond reflects the cantilevering greenhouse overhead. An open atrium pierces through the greenhouse, which has operable glass louvres on the walls, roof, and floor and steel grate floors to allow users to occupy the space. The flexible design of the atrium allows the plants to interact with the elements year-round with adjustable conditions at the discretion of the occupants.



Jury Comments: Good narrative, beautiful renderings, good idea. Interesting and provocative concept. Bold architecture. The renderings give a good sense of what it might feel like.

Third Place: $400

Sepideh Sahebsara

Architectural drawing of a modern architecture among trees with people in the foreground enjoying the outdoor space.
Cross-section architectural illustration of a modern facility with multiple levels and a central water feature.

Project Description: Equilibrium


The design seeks a harmonious balance between architecture and the environment, utilizing natural resources to enhance ecological equilibrium. Addressing climate-related challenges, the project strategically manages rainwater by incorporating basins and bioswales into the landscape. Within the building, a central atrium features a basin that collects rainwater, offering a unique space for interaction, natural light, and ventilation. 



Jury Comments: Strong three-site parti and clear parti diagrams. The building on the third site takes cues from how the first two sites are organized. Nice modelling studies. Thorough project resolution.

2022 Stantec Prize Winners

First Place: $700

Frank Hinoporos

Architectural drawing with structural details, and accentuated lines in grayscale and yellow.
Architectural conceptual illustration in sepia tones, featuring buildings, people, and a bird in flight.

Project Description: Catalyst


Approaching the Urban Forestry Knowledge Centre, visitors meet a hostile barren landscape that evokes the site’s industrial past, with steel fins lining the path. Upon arrival, they experience its mission, seeing how trees are cultivated and engineered inside greenhouses to withstand the climate emergency. Departing, they can see through the directionally oriented fins along the path, now seeing the lush landscape that the fins were previously hiding from them.



Jury Comments: Strong idea of how you experience the building. Thinking about how the experience of arrival and departure are informed by the experience of the building. The design of the fins is very strong.

Second Place: $600

Caitlin Chin

Sectional architectural drawing with indoor greenery and structural details
Sketch of an indoor space with hanging plants, and structural framework.

Project Description: The [TREE FACTORY] is an urban forestry knowledge centre that aims to educate the public about climate change and rekindle the relationship between people and trees. It is a collection of microclimates that choreograph interwoven paths of education, people, and trees through converging moments in time.



Jury Comments: Strong narrative around how all three sites work together and how that informs the building. Beautiful graphics, good explanation of ideas, and how the building is organized.

Second Place: $600

Will Hermer

A rendered image of a sunny park with people walking, lush trees, greenery, and modern buildings in the background.
Technical architectural cross-section drawing of a multi-story building with detailed interior layers and elevation context.

Project Description: DIRTWORKS aims to create a monumental architectural language focusing on how humans affect the earth with both engineering and design in negative and positive ways. The primary gesture is displaying extracted soil from the site, polluted from past projects, as well as the construction of this one. Allowing plants to grow from the top and sides, the project showcases the consequences of our industry while transforming it into something beautiful.


Jury Comments: Execution is clear and ties directly into the narrative and parti. The expression of the building is aligned with the parti. Expression that is a finer grain than the parti, works at different scales.

Third Place: $400

Carmen Kam

indoor gallery with plants, art, and people, in a sketch style.
Collage with figures and layered images of agriculture and deforestation

Project Description: In-Between


The concept of the in-between comes from thinking of the building as an artifact that marks a period of transition: a state of preservation shifting to adaptation as the threat of climate change starts to take effect. The project aims to highlight and emphasize interstitial spaces by exploring ideas of transitions and the in-between through layers in the site and the building.



Jury Comments: Strong ideas. The rendering that showed the building in context was very well done.

Third Place: $400

Gerry Rafael-White

Physical architectural model with various buildings, landscaping, and topography details.
Sectional perspective drawing of a multi-level building complex with detailed facade and interior cutaways.

Project Description: Soiled Absorption 


The site interacts with the developing community by taking in the disturbed fill that is excavated from the regional sites of urban development. The site becomes a quilt of mounds and phytoremediation, where the mounds and vegetation act as proverbial sponges for urban toxicity. Children will learn to care for the genetically modified trees that are raised on-site, in front of a backdrop remediating toxicity.



Jury Comments: Good relationship between the landscape approach and the building. Love the phytoremediation quilt and the site model using sponges.

2023 Honourable Mentions

Honourable Mention: $200

Olga Budilovskaia

Artistic architectural illustration of a building with patterned facades, people walking, and trees, against a textured sky.
Cross-sectional architectural drawing of a building with indoor planting shelves, a figure on a ladder, and a group of people.

Project Description: {in} grown


The project addresses a lack of grocery stores within a 15-minute walking radius of a residential neighbourhood, proposing community vegetable gardens to enhance food accessibility and reduce CO2 emissions from grocery transportation. The landscape design focuses on efficient routes, stormwater management, and shielded micro-climate zones for diverse produce growth. The building design emphasizes transparency, public engagement, and social spaces, featuring a farmers’ market space and greenhouses.


Jury Comments: Planning is different from the rest. Angled spaces converge in interesting ways. The perspectives are interesting.

Honourable Mention: $200

Luca Corazza

A monochromatic architectural rendering showing a contemporary building with a transparent upper level and wooden facade, people nearby, in a soft-light setting.
Detailed architectural cross-section illustration in grayscale, showing interior spaces, people, and structural elements of a multi-story building.

Project Description: Sensate


The building’s design centers around a pit, with dynamic bands radiating outward, seamlessly integrating aesthetic and functional elements. These bands guide occupants through curated spatial sequences, manipulating light, shadow, and sound to craft unique atmospheres. The result is a series of meticulously crafted special experiences, immersing visitors in a sensory journey that harmoniously fuses the built environment with nature.



Jury Comments: Good hand. Beautiful drawings. Excellent line weights. A great exploded structural axo. Captures a sensory experience. A good project, tectonically.

Honourable Mention: $200

Syeda Khadeeja

Illustration of an interior space with a staircase, people, and a vibrant floral backdrop.
Colorful site plan with annotations for various seasonal plantings and landscape features.

Project Description: Beauty and The Machine


While my site is more organic with a carving out for the bioswale and seasonal flowers, the building contrasts with a more rational approach. My idea for the building was to create an exposition of function. This is shown through the accessibility and transparency of the greenhouses, and by an exposed structural language with the timber structure and various services and fasteners that are integrated into it.


Jury Comments: Well thought-out parti. Intriguing and evocative by presentation style. Thorough environmental research and light studies Focus on all abilities experiencing the space.

Honourable Mention: $200

Grace Sample

Monochrome site plan showing building layouts, streets, and landscaping details with labeled streets.
Black and white photo of a detailed architectural model with intricate structural elements and multi-level design.

Project Description: Carling Street Gallery for Urban Ecology 


The separation of human and natural elements serves as a foundational principle, fostering an environment conducive to optimal sapling growth within the greenhouse and across the adjacent sites. As visitors ascend the building along a concentric ramp, the architectural journey unfolds into an immersive experience. This passage within the greenhouse promotes understanding of the delicate balance between human intervention and nature, and the significance of sustainable growth and co-existence.



Jury Comments: Studied the façade more than other projects. The modelling studies are very successful.

Honourable Mention: $200

Alex Saucier

Interior of a building with walkways, plants, and people in a pastel-toned illustration.
Architectural cross-section drawing of a multi-story building with detailed interior layers.

Project Description: Adapt to Habitat


This project focuses on reviving non-human species in danger due to climate change and human intervention. The on-site labs genetically modify the saplings to develop more resilient ash trees which are currently in danger of extinction due to the invasive emerald ash borer. The project strives to craft habitats for endangered non-human species by designing ecosystems and microclimates tailored to their needs.



Jury Comments: The roof is occupiable. The façade studies were well done, including a habitable façade for insects, animals, and birds.

2022 Honourable Mentions

Honourable Mention: $200

Nupur Agrawal

A 3D rendering of people sitting inside a spacious, sunlit wooden interior with large windows and beams.
A detailed architectural cross-section drawing of a multi-story building with trees.

Project Description: Daedalic Reflection 


Using mass timber, the centre serves as an educational tool to provide visitors with insights into the projected consequences of climate change and to encourage contemplation on the magnitude of this crisis. To aid trees during drought conditions, the design redirects rain and snow. The butterfly roof structure and landscaping features such as salt-tolerant trees address water conservation by redirecting water into retention ponds during severe storms.



Jury Comments: The formal expression across the whole site is consistent. Beautiful representation through drawings and renderings.

Honourable Mention: $200

Harrison Lane

Technical architectural drawings of a sectional bay model with two variations, one present and one projected 45 years into the future.
Long sectional architectural illustration with detailed layers, and people figures

Project Description: Just like a forest


This project reimagines current construction practices by emulating forest succession within the envelope, leaving a building free of all plastic, harmful construction materials, and planned obsolescence after approximately 120 years. Once the building has reached its end, it may return to the earth and nurture the ground on which it once stood, with the seedlings taking root and a new urban forest sprouting from within.



Jury Comments: Interesting thinking about the building decomposing. Unique approach to the program and site.

Honourable Mention: $200

Lauren Leibe

collage-style illustration of an urban park with people, modern structures, trees, and stylized birds and a butterfly against a yellow background.
Bright interior rendering of a building with pink structural elements, a person in a yellow dress, and a goose, surrounded by greenery.

Project Description: Knowledge Centre for Urban Forestry and Ecological Habitats


This project aims to challenge surrounding tower developments in the city and rethink the distribution of “prime real estate.” The building is designed with spaces and shelters embedded into the layout and façade to give back to the surrounding ecological system and encourage people to interact with and accept the non-human inhabitants of the city.



Jury Comments: Most unique approach to the building. Wonderful graphics.

Honourable Mention: $200

Michael Fiel Mandac

Artistic architectural visualization with a collage effect showing people walking towards a building with tall vertical elements and autumnal trees.
A black and white architectural rendering of a modern building with trees and people in the foreground.

Project Description: Co_sequence


Floods and rising temperatures guided this project to use water as a medium for meaning. The site is designed to be amphibious and anticipate flood water. The project sees a raised greenhouse safe from flood, highlighting the role of engineered trees in the climate crisis.



Jury Comments: Beautiful graphics and drawings. Good relationship between the landscape approach and the building.

Honourable Mention: $200

Arkoun Merchant

A photo of a physical architectural model with various building forms and landscaping, accompanied by diagrams explaining different views and strategies.
Technical architectural section drawings of a multi-storied building with interior details and landscape context.

Project Description: Urban Central Research Facility


This design proposal embodies the gestures of carving and circular descent as the basis for the building and landscape design. Organized around a central courtyard, the building’s main program of a tree nursery features saplings catered for the different biomes found around Ottawa. As they reach maturity, the saplings find their way into the carved landscape where visitors can enjoy the flora while exploring the park’s numerous public spaces.



Jury Comments: Interesting building form; clear connection between the form of the building and how the site is addressed.