Royal Architectural Institute of Canada

RAIC announces winner of 2015 Urban Marker competition

OTTAWA, April 17, 2015 – A team of intern architects from Alberta with a design for an installation called The Public Speaker has been named the winner of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada’s Urban Marker competition for 2015.

The purpose of the competition is to create a unique physical marker to signal and to celebrate events and locations of the RAIC’s annual Festival of Architecture. The festival takes place this year from June 3-6 in Calgary in partnership with the Alberta Association of Architects.

The interns are Holly Simon, Justin Loucks, MRAIC, Kevin Lo, and Phil Wilson. They propose a Public Speaker that will act as a vessel for dialogue in the public realm and an amplifier for citizens to share their thoughts. The Speaker will also have an alcove for sitting and listening. During festival events, the Speaker can project live audio from the various lectures, so people on the street will have an opportunity to listen and learn about architecture.

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From the 12 entries received, the jury felt The Public Speaker submission was the clear winner.

“The Public Speaker combines whimsical, sensory and spatial strategies to create a memorable communication instrument,” said the six-member jury. “The intern design team demonstrated a thorough technical and operational understanding as evidenced by a functional and well-conceived design.”

The Public Speaker will be made of fibre-reinforced plastic with a lightweight aluminum frame. LED lights will illuminate the large ring and the mouthpiece at night. Calgary fabricator, Heavy Industries, will be engaged to build The Public Speaker. Part of the $7,500 budget will cover a live audio feed.

The 2015 Urban Marker Competition was organized and presented by the RAIC, Stantec Architecture, Beakerhead (a science and engineering festival in Calgary) and Storefront Manitoba (an organization that offers public programs on the built environment.)

The jury was comprised of:

  • Hanan Chebib, Director of Creative Experiences, Beakerhead, Calgary;
  • David Penner, FRAIC; architect; Founding President of Storefront Manitoba, Winnipeg;
  • Joyce Drohan, MRAIC, Director of Urban Design, Perkins + Will, Vancouver;
  • Michael Banman, MRAIC, Associate Architect, Stantec, Winnipeg;
  • Rachelle Lemieux, MRAIC, RAIC Director of Interns and Intern Architects, Winnipeg;
  • Omer Arbel, Creative Director of Bocci; Principal, Omer Arbel Office, Vancouver.



The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada is a voluntary national association, representing 5,000 members. The RAIC advocates for excellence in the built environment, works to demonstrate how design enhances the quality of life and promotes responsible architecture in addressing important issues of society.