Université de Montréal
Research Chair on Competitions and Contemporary Practices in Architecture


For immediate release.

Announcement of the:
“2012 CRC/LEAP Prize for exemplary competition in architecture and urban design”

The University of Montreal’s
Chaire de recherche sur les concours et les pratiques contemporaines en architecture (C.R.C.) and
the Laboratoire d’étude de l’architecture potentielle (L.E.A.P.)

are pleased to announce
the “2012 CRC/LEAP Prize for Exemplary Competition”
presented during the international symposium on “International Competitions and Architectural Quality in the Planetary Age”
(March 16th and 17th, Université de Montréal, Canada)


Competitions are important for architectural, urban and landscape design and some competitions should be distinguished for their impact on society. This competition of competitions cases, which were selected from those cases presented by experts during this Montreal symposium, was initiated in order to strengthen international collaborations with organizations, scholars, critics, architects and designers around the world, many of which are archiving, studying and reflecting upon competitions as a means to improve the quality of our urban environments.

Georges Adamczyk (Canada) acted as President of the 2012 international jury whose members were: Izabel Amaral (Brazil), Carmela Cucuzzella (Canada), Emmanuel Caille (France), Stanley Collyer (USA), Thomas Hoffmann-Kuhnt (Germany), Denis Bilodeau (Canada).

The jury went through many case studies. From the small scale but sophisticated projects submitted for the Visitors’ Pavilion of the beautiful Martin House by Frank Lloyd Wright (2003) to the 1962 Peruvian competition which ended in the last heroic charge typical of a TEAM X social commitment (1962), from the four competitions for the Acropolis Museum (1976, 1978, 1989, 2000) to the recent competition for an extension to the Musée National des Beaux Arts du Québec (2009), from the great architectural events that were the Centre Georges Pompidou (1970) and the Parc de la Villette competitions in Paris (1976 and 1984) to the troubling and difficult achievement of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg (2003), the jury had a very rich and arduous deliberation to select the winner. As one of the jury put it: ‘it would have been easier to select a bad competition’.

From the discussion, the following objectives were retained to define an “exemplary competition” in relation to the quality of our environments in the planetary age, a more qualitative and open way to capture opinions from various places in the world considering the composition of the jury:

  • The 2012 case study selected should be an international competition
  • It should have had an important public influence
  • It should contribute to build a better environment
  • It should be a strong reference for the profession and future clients
  • It should help construct a stronger discipline by offering original theoretical and practical knowledge
  • It should be pertinent at both the local and the global scale

The final case selected by the jury is outstanding if only in the fact that it did not generate only one competition but more than 60 since it started in 2000.


The 2012 winner of the CRC/LEAP Prize for exemplary competition is:

HafenCity Hamburg competitions
Germany(2000 - 2010)


This large inner city project covers more than 150 hectares and has 10.5 kilometers of riverbank on the Elbe. 2.32 million square meters will be built, offering 6000 units of housing, office space, commercial facilities, as well as new cultural and educational buildings. These competitions have attracted international architects like Herzog & De Meuron and OMA, among others. This project, one of the largest inner city urban regeneration projects in Europe, will generate 45 000 new jobs. It represents an extension of 40% of the inner city area. The master plan was elaborated in 2000. Since 2006, it is under the planning authority of the Commission for urban development. This organization was set up in order to achieve the goal of raising the quality of architecture in this part of the city. This Commission is formed with members of all the political parties. The aim of the Commission was to establish international standards for residential use. It imposes the competition format for all the housing projects. Every investor/user has to proceed, in conjunction with the city of Hamburg, with an architectural competition for which one of the first criteria is not the lowest price, but the highest quality for the users. Although the project started over 10 years ago, it is still active and will serve as a very important reference for tenders and competitions in the field of housing at its completion.


For more information on this large urban development:

HafenCity, Hamburg

Université de Montréal Faculté de l'Aménagement École d'Architecture Laboratoire d'Étude de l'Architecture Potentielle [LEAP] Contacts