2017 Premier's Awards of Excellence in Design


Award of Excellence

Kreate Architecture and Designs Ltd.

Piapot First Nation Arbour

The arbour hosts events throughout the summer months, culminating in a Powwow gathering on the third weekend in August of each year. This gathering provides a celebration of First Nation’s culture, heritage and activities; all centrally located within the arbour/powwow grounds. The design process engaged the client team in an interactive fashion including site reviews, opportunities for cultural growth, functional attributes, powwow sequencing and activities as well as potential materials, site access and orientation. This process included sketching, site demonstrations and model making to successfully illustrate proposed concepts for confirmation and approval by the client committee.


The physical resolution for the design concept was generated using the scale of the participants as the formative elements. The spacing of the structure was derived by the placement of seating systems that provide optimum viewing abilities while maintaining maximum available seating. The massing for the facility was designed in proportion to the human scale, minimizing the overall height at the entry points while extending the heights within the celebratory space. Through the use of the human figure as the technical generator, the final solution provides a structure scaled to the participants while responsive to the natural elements.

The final design solution integrates first nations cultural attributes and impressions in a dynamic, open air structure. The plan integration is focused on the four directions of first nations belief systems, providing key nodes within the plan for access and exit to serve the powwow functions. The structure is designed as a floating, undulating surface that is remarked to “dance in the sunlight”, responsive to the nature of the activities intended to take place within its enclosure. The specific site response to the design solution is based on the solar analysis for the region, providing an enclosure that responds to the solar azimuth at the site location. The design of the structure was predicated on the solar angles during summer months; the intention being to provide the maximum available shading coefficient for the participants and viewers while maintaining an open air aesthetic. Our team used the sun path diagram for the Regina area and created a 3-D model of its pattern.


Structural support systems were custom designed to integrate the sense of trees in the landscape, tilting the vertical elements to allow greater sight lines and minimizing the structural cross-sections to allow the roof structure to float above the spectators. The roof structural system was designed using glue-laminated timber construction, homage to the use of natural materials within the culture. The top surface of metal cladding was selected to provide a greater sense of direction through the orientation of the pan flutes, augmenting the sense of movement within the roofline.

"Beautiful! Very smart design with clear understanding of climate. Love!

Award of Excellence

RBM Architecture Inc.

Gordon Oaks Red Bear Student Centre

The new facility, named after the former Chief, is aimed at providing a hub for Aboriginal students at the university campus. It is also meant to be a place for students and staff of all cultural backgrounds to gather and learn from each other. It is a place where the spirit and knowledge of First Nation values partnered with the knowledge and vision of a University educational system.

The location is intended to establish an iconic gateway to the campus, demonstrating the central and important role that First Nations have at this University. 

The building has been designed in accordance with LEED Gold strategies, designed to be 70% more efficient than MNECB. The south facade opens up with mass thermal storage incorporated into the finishes of the central atrium space to help heat the building in the winter. The south overhang keeps out the summer sun, allowing intensive insulation and passive cooling night-time flushing to keep the building cool in the summer. Extensive glazing ensures day-lighting and views from virtually every occupied space.

The planning of the building is based on the teachings that the circle is the symbolic base for healing, knowledge and equality: the foundation for all Indigenous ceremonies. The central gathering space is the base for the building’s plan, with its centre based on the earth and with a view to the sky above. The building has four quadrants representing the four cardinal directions. Each of these directions represents a season and it has its particular colour.

The building’s main identifying feature is the undulation wall that begins at the site entrance, and wraps to become the northern wall of the building; a symbolic blanket protecting the building from the northern winter winds. The building with its striking fin wall mimics a blanket sheltering the structure. The wall continues to wrap the focal form of the western stairwell, then returns to the earth, gathering the programs into the central area.

The building exterior is clad in Tyndall stone with two rows of inlaid tile that encircle the building and represents a wampum belt.

A feature skylight over this space recalls a star blanket, which the ceiling is decorated as a medicine wheel. Familiar First Nations artistic elements are seamlessly blended into the design, from the colours and textures evocative of buckskin, to colour fieldstone “beads” incorporated into the surfaces.

The south side entrance is arranged in such a way that people move following the path of the sun through the building. Along the eat of the building the wall gently curves back on itself and enters the interior, eventually enveloping the ceremonial space at the centre and returning to the earth as the focal form of the western stairwell.

Beautiful and unique floorpan. Incredible use of natural light. Beautiful texture and use of stone.

Award of Merit

P3Architecture Partnership

École Gravelbourg School

"Wonderful use of wood. This would be a great place to go to school. Clear design intention and a great material palette. Very intelligent sustainable features."

Honourable Mention

RBM Architecture Inc.

Rammed Earth Residence

Honourable Mention

PMGM Architecture Ltd.

Multi-Tenant Facility, Airside - Regina International Airport