Edmonton City Centre Airport Design Competition Finalists

Today Simon Farbrother, City Manager, and Phil Sande, City Centre Airport Executive Director, announced the five finalists in the City Centre Airport Lands Design Competition. These finalists will now work until the end of the year on their plans to redevelop the 216-hectare site into a sustainable, transit-oriented community.

City Centre Airport Design Competition Finalists

From the press release:

“We had an overwhelming response to our request for qualifications,” says Phil Sande, Executive Director, City Centre Airport redevelopment project, City of Edmonton. “We’ve received 33 submissions with a wealth of experience in innovative sustainable design, urban design and redevelopment, engineering and architectural design.”

The five winning firms are (in alphabetical order):

  1. BNIM, Kansas City, USA
  2. Foster & Partners, London, UK
  3. KCAP, Rotterdam, Netherlands
  4. Perkins + Will, Vancouver, Canada
  5. Sweco International AB, Stockholm, Sweden

The contents of their submissions is confidential, so all we got to see were the covers of the proposals. The City also suggested the following visuals: BNIM, Foster & Partners, KCAP, Perkins + Will, Sweco International AB.

Local firms involved in the proposals include Williams Engineering, Bunt & Associates, Cohos Evamy, and Calder Bateman.

City Centre Airport Design Competition Finalists

Their submissions were based upon the Master Plan Principles that City Council approved earlier this year. The review committee included: Simon Farbrother, City Manager; Gord Jackson, Acting Manager of the Policy and Planning Branch; Rick Daviss, Manager of Corporate Properties Branch; Peter Hackett, Exec. Professor School of Business, VP Research and a Fellow of the National Institute for Nanotechnology at the University of Alberta; Chris Henderson, CEO of Delphi Group, Canada’s leading strategic consulting firm in the environment and clean energy sectors; and Todd Latham, President of Actual Media Inc. which produces ReNew Canada, the infrastructure and renewal magazine. James McKellar, Associate Dean, External Relations Academic Director, Program in Real Estate and Infrastructure, Schulich School of Business, York University ensured the review process was transparent and fair.

Some additional notes from the press conference:

  • The first phase of the build out could be completed by 2024.
  • Preliminary results of the environmental evaluation show three small sites with limited contamination potential. The findings thus far were described as “very positive”. More information will be available in about 3 weeks.
  • Each firm will receive an honorarium of $50,000 to participate.
  • Phil said that consideration of Edmonton as a Winter City was important, and was something the finalists both embraced and have experience with.

Edmontonians will get to review all five submissions at the end of the year. The review committee will then be joined by Lars Franne, Retired Project Manager, Hammarby Sjöstad Sustainable Redevelopment, Stockholm, Sweden, and potentially others, and will make a recommendation to City Council, who ultimately has the final decision.

It’s great to see this project moving forward!

UPDATE: Here are the biographies of the five finalists (in PDF), provided by the City.

11 thoughts on “Edmonton City Centre Airport Design Competition Finalists

  1. Hey Mack, if Arena District had a process like this,then there’s hope. No need to sell buy-in when folks from around the world think little old Yeg has lots to offer.

  2. While I’m all for the redevelopment project and sustainable communities, I’m noticing that s lot of these design firms are foreign save for one in Vancouver. While there are still local partners involved with the submissions, it’s worrisome that to design an entire community, you need a holistic and big picture understanding of the area in which you’re working on.

    I don’t particularly feel comfortable that a design firm in the UK or Kansas can fully and easily understand the unique situation of Edmonton, such as the climate or socioeconomic strengths and shortcomings of our city. Did no local Architecture or Urban Planning firm even submit as a primary?

  3. Andrew – they didn’t say anything about the other submissions, just that there were a number of local firms involved.

    I think it’s a positive thing that we have finalists with such experience. My hope is that with the City leading the development, and local partners playing a key role, the concerns that you mentioned can be mitigated.

  4. Actually, further to my comment, I should add that it isn’t all bad as perhaps a fresh European perspective where mass transit is widely used and accepted would do wonders for the first big step towards a more sustainable Edmonton.

    And I just read that last bullet point regarding Edmonton as a Winter city, so that’s helpful.

    Either way, it is going to be a big positive for a lot of Edmontonians with the ECCA redeveloped.

  5. Andrew,

    Foster and Partners for instance is arguably one of the best firms in the world at what they do. Norman Foster, the chairman of the company, is a living legend. He is a Pritzker Prize winner (alongside other architects such as Frank Gehry, Rem Koolhaas, and Richard Rogers) and has an unbelievable track record:


    I think it would be a remarkable for some of the development to be designed by his organization.

  6. Hi Andrew, I’m not a local ‘firm’ but I’m Edmontonian and I did make a submission (http://bit.ly/citycentreairport). I wasn’t looking to win, but I did hope to have been in the top 5 for $25,000. However, I’m honoured to be in the same competition as Norman Foster. Having a Starchitect name attached to a development will give Edmonton an international status in design and development.

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