MArch students Ethan Zhang and Magdalena Kaczmarczyk (M4) have been announced as the winners of the 2023 City of Kitchener Great Places Future Design Leaders Award. The Great Places Awards honour outstanding development projects that show a commitment to design excellence and innovation in urban design, sustainability and heritage conservation and contribute to a built environment that enhances our quality of life. 

Their project, “All Roads Lead to Roam” was created for the “Fuori Le Mura” studio led by Professor Rick Haldenby in 2021. The studio urged students to consider the urban conditions of a rapidly developing Kitchener-Waterloo and how cultural institutions must become part of this growth. Specifically, the studio brief addresses the conditions of cultural buildings within the Civic District, prompting students to redesign for expansion.

"Our biggest hope for the project was to inspire the lawmakers, developers, and members of the Kitchener community, and promote city investment into Victoria St N. "

Ethan Zhang and Magdalena Kaczmarczyk holding their Great Places Awards

The project “identified that there existed another intriguing, pressing urban issue in downtown Kitchener, at the edge of the Civic District” and “imagines the richness of Victoria St’s urban potential by incorporating it as an intensification “loop” with King St. and Queen St. that encircles the Civic District and downtown areas”.

The awards ceremony held November 8 at Kitchener City Hall was attended by architects, urban planners, city officials and lawmakers provided the students with “an incredible opportunity to share our ideas with the community and learn about new city developments”.