Mayor's Urban Design Awards

Liveable cities are an organic collaboration of nature and design. They hold our memories of long walks and warm welcomes, the safe places where we played with friends, and the open pathways that drew us into the future.

In a growing, global city like Calgary, The Mayor’s Urban Design Awards (MUDA) are more important than ever. They not only recognize the contribution of Calgary urban designers, architects, landscape architects, engineers, planners and artists to the livability of our city; they also allow us to showcase our modern city to the world as an inclusive place to live and build a career.

Calgary’s diverse and inclusive physical environment has provided a benchmark for high caliber urban design, buildings and public spaces. It helps set the standard for future municipal planning and development. But more importantly, our city’s urban spaces offer our citizens, who live here now and those who will live here in the future, a welcoming place to call home.

Be a part of our celebration of Calgary’s urban landscape, as our city continues to be recognized around the around the world as one of the best places to live.  

MUDA Gala – Wednesday, Nov. 9


We are excited to host this edition of the MUDA celebration on Wednesday, Nov. 9, at the Contemporary Art Gallery of Calgary. 

Tickets are SOLD OUT! We’ll be live tweeting the event throughout the celebration with #MUDAYYC. Follow us on Twitter at @yycplan

We will be posting the winners and mentions on a separate web page before by EOD, Thursday, Nov. 10. Keep updated on the latest news at @yycplan

Submission deadline has passed


Thank you to all of you who have submitted your application to the 2022 MUDA’s. We are compiling all the information, followed by the jury review.

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Award submission categories


1. Conceptual or Theoretical Projects

A plan or a study of an area within Calgary that provides a strategy for urban transformation. It is intended for unbuilt work and is not dependent on implementation status. Visionary urban design studies, master plans, redevelopment strategies and community plans of high ambition and inspirational value may be submitted.

Eligibility:

The plan or study must have been completed after Jan. 1, 2012, within Calgary.

Award criteria:

  • Employs a holistic, systemic approach to city-building
  • Demonstrates critical thinking and strategic foresight to address current and future challenges
  • Reflects the city that Calgary aspires to be - inclusive, diverse, equitable, adaptable, resilient, energetic and lively

Design rationale should be clearly described and well-illustrated.

2. Urban Design Plans

A study of an area within Calgary that provides a development or redevelopment strategy for urban transformation. It is intended for work that has some certainty of implementation within a mid-term to long-term timeframe. Urban Design studies, master plans, redevelopment strategies, and community plans of high inspirational value with the potential for significant impact on the city’s sustainability or development may be submitted.

Eligibility:

The plan or study must have been completed after Jan. 1, 2012, within Calgary.

Award criteria:

  • Addresses a wide a range of factors affecting development
  • Highlights new ideas and/or approaches to interventions in the city
  • Addresses Calgarians’ shared priorities and vision around inclusivity, diversity, equity, climate, resilience, identity and context

Design rationale should be clearly described and well-illustrated.

3. Urban Architecture

A building or group of buildings that are integral to high urban design quality. The submission may be for an individual building or group of buildings, of high architectural standard, which achieve urban design excellence through their unique relationship with their immediate surroundings. The building(s) will also contribute to defining a special relationship with the neighbouring urban fabric in terms of siting, massing, and pedestrian amenities. Interior spaces can be included if they have a strong relationship to/influence on the public realm. 

Eligibility:

A new building, a renovated building, or complex of buildings completed after Jan. 1, 2012, within Calgary, and designed by a registered architect. Special consideration will be given to buildings that also achieve, or can achieve, a green building rating (such as LEED® or BREEAM). This category is open only to registered architects.

Award criteria:

  • Positive contribution to the public realm
  • Architectural excellence
  • Demonstration of the unique relationship with/influence on/creation of public realm

Design rationale should be clearly described and well-illustrated.

4. Civic Design Projects

This category recognizes a civic improvement project such as a park, a public space, civil engineering or infrastructure project. The design will reinforce the value of urban design through its unique relationship with and/or creation of innovative public realm which addresses inclusivity, sustainability, and engagement with community and context.

Eligibility:

The plan or study must have been completed after Jan. 1, 2012, within Calgary.

Award criteria:

  • Shows awareness of current City of Calgary objectives to respond to issues of equity, inclusivity, accessibility, and climate adaptation positive contribution to the public realm
  • design excellence
  • demonstration of the value of urban design **and its ability to creatively address issues of inclusivity and sustainability while engaging with its context.

Design Rationale should be clearly described and well illustrated.

5. Urban Fragments

Single or multiple small-scale pieces of a building or landscape that contribute significantly to the quality of the public realm. This category includes elements such as street furniture, lighting elements, interpretation media, memorials, public art, or other forms of intervention that contribute to the beautification, sustainability, enjoyment, and/or appreciation of the urban environment. Projects can be of a temporary (but not ephemeral) or permanent nature.

Eligibility:

Completed or installed after Jan. 1, 2012, within Calgary.

Award criteria:

The primary criteria for assessing the proposals will be:

  • Positive contribution to the public realm
  • Design excellence
  • Innovation and uniqueness of the element

Design rationale should be clearly described and well-illustrated. 

6. Community Initiatives Award

Any built project or community improvement program, however modest, initiated and implemented by a community-based organization or partnership that enhances the public realm. Streetscaping, public art, commemorative or interpretive installations, activation strategies, and environmental initiatives are examples of this category.

Eligibility:

The improvement must have been completed after Jan. 1, 2012, within Calgary.

Award criteria:

  • Wide community involvement: Demonstration of how the community initiated and implemented the improvements
  • Positive contribution to the public realm
  • Innovation and uniqueness of the built project
  • Design rationale should be clearly described and well-illustrated
  • Reflects neighbourhood cultural and resident diversity 

Design Rationale should be clearly described and well illustrated.

7. The Confluence Award

(Formerly the Mawson Award)

A public space, building, or group of buildings that achieve urban design excellence and creativity through awareness of the Calgary context, particularly its history, identity, location, and culture.

 

Eligibility:

All types of buildings and public spaces are eligible, including landmarks, new construction or restorations/transformations. The project must have been completed after Jan. 1, 2012, within Calgary. Submissions should demonstrate visionary city-building and aspire to be culturally and historically reflective and aesthetically significant.

 

Award criteria:

  • Innovation in response to existing context, sensitive infill, and revitalization
  • Positive and enduring contribution to the public realm
  • Enhancement of community identity, history, and Calgary culture
  • Demonstration of the influence of local context and culture on the design outcome
  • Design excellence

Design and contextual-fit rationale should be clearly described and well-illustrated.

8. City Edge Development

Site plans, studies, architecture, landscape designs and site elements that respond specifically to the challenges and opportunities presented on sites located in all recently developed and newly developing areas around the edges of Calgary.

Eligibility:

The plan, study, or design must have been completed after Jan. 1, 2012, and be located or proposed within Calgary but outside the “Established Communities”; it may or may not yet have been implemented. All project types are eligible, including large and medium retail and multi-residential designs.

Award criteria:

  • Innovation in addressing challenges specific to sites in new and developing communities
  • Demonstration of attention to issues of scale, animation, connectivity, accessibility, interface between public and private realm and other key urban design principles; in particular, evidence of place-making and prioritization of the pedestrian realm should be highlighted
  • Presents new approaches to design and development in the new communities within Calgary
  • Demonstrates a commitment to sustainability and addresses social equity issues such as affordability and accessibility

Design rationale should be clearly described and well-illustrated.

9. Green & Resilient Design

Projects that boldly respond to the Climate Emergency through excellence in sustainable design by reducing energy and resource consumption of buildings, and by improving occupant health and wellness, all while showcasing urban design excellence.

Eligibility:

Projects registered for, or certified by, a recognized green building standard or rating system are eligible. The project must have been completed after Jan. 1, 2012, within Calgary.

Award criteria:

A wide range of criteria from the City of Calgary Sustainable Development Inventory will be considered, including:

  • Energy efficiency and measures to reduce operational GHG emissions
  • Efforts to reduce the project’s embodied carbon
  • Design measures to improve occupant health and wellness
  • Water efficiency and storm water management
  • Design approaches that respond to the increasing risk of extreme weather
  • Uses renewable energy technologies
  • Design approach highlights innovation in sustainable design
  • Promotes alternative means of transportation (cycling, pedestrian experience, etc.)
  • Promotes positive public experience and the betterment of the surrounding community, by addressing social equity issues such as affordability and accessibility.

Design rationale should be clearly described and well-illustrated.

10. Housing Innovation

Residential design projects, constructed or approved, of any size or scale, which demonstrate innovation in the areas of neighbourhood intensification, accessibility, affordability, “aging in place”, and promotes wellness through healthy living environments. Particularly, the award focuses on designs which contribute to creative solutions to the problems of housing diversity and affordability, providing improved livability for seniors, and simple, viable housing design options for those citizens facing mobility challenges.   

Eligibility:

A building or complex of buildings approved or completed construction after Jan. 1, 2012, within Calgary.

Award criteria:

  • Exhibits innovations which address one or more of the challenging design issues listed above
  • Illustrates an awareness of and response to existing surrounding context
  • Contributes to the public realm in a positive way
  • Strives to achieve a healthy and high quality of life for its occupants through design innovation
  • Supports social outcomes and/or community well-being through partnerships or collaboration

Design rationale should be clearly described and well-illustrated.

11. Student Projects

The Student Projects category will be administered through participating Canadian Universities, programs in architecture, landscape architecture, and/or urban planning. Each school may forward submissions for each of the following categories:

  • A submission from a structured Urban Design, Landscape, Architecture or Planning studio
  • A submission as a result of a final project or an individual thesis

Eligibility:

This category is open to students in urban design, architecture, landscape architecture and urban planning at the undergraduate or graduate level. Projects should investigate sites or be implementable on sites within Calgary.

Award criteria:

  • Comprehensiveness: Addressing a wide range of factors affecting development and providing solutions to the stated problem
  • Conceptual clarity and urban design excellence, as demonstrated in the illustrations showing physical improvements

Design rationale should be clearly described and well-illustrated.

​​​​​​​​​More Information

For more information and to speak to someone in regards to these opportunities, please contact:

David Down: David.Down@calgary.ca

Telephone: 403-510-9782

Application instruction


Each entry must include the following:

  • Up to a maximum of 20 images (drawings and photographs), which fully explain the project.
  • A Microsoft Word document containing a clear description (500 words maximum) of the project site, intent, design concept and details appropriately showing how the design meets the category criteria.

Image Specifications:

  • Minimum image size 1000px x 1000px; Maximum image size 2500px x 2500px
  • Images must be submitted in either JPEG, TIFF, GIF, PNG, or PDF format. Images are intended for the purpose of online viewing only (print resolution is not needed).
  • Anonymity is required. Please be ensure that the firm name or any other identifier does not appear on any documents submitted as part of the package of materials that will be uploaded and made available for viewing by the jury.
  • No video-clips will be accepted.

Suggested visual materials (as appropriate to each category):

  • Clear and well annotated concept and/or masterplans
  • Site plans and/or photo imagery to communicate the project location and context
  • Landscaped site plans with detailed legends
  • Floor plans and/or building sections which best convey the urban design impacts
  • Project elevations and perspective renderings which fully describe the project and clearly show the relationship to the public realm
  • Accurate portrayals of materiality and details
  • Photographs of completed projects