Halifax Urban Planning Trophy Design

The 2018 Halifax Urban Design Awards held a competition looking for student talent to design a trophy for the awards. The winning design would be replicated 5 times to be given out to the winners of the Urban Design Awards. My design was shortlisted as one of the winners.

A major asset to the city of Halifax are the surrounding harbours and basins. The Halifax skyline as seen from the ferries and from Dartmouth, is a striking sight that encompasses many aspects and styles of urban planning and development. City skylines are picturesque and attract a lot of attention from locals, as well as tourists–which Halifax has a lot of. Reflections are also a noticeable part of the skyline–on a calm
day a clear reflection of the skyline emerges in the harbour. As one walks through the streets of the city, they are also faced with many reflections in the windows of buildings. Most new buildings are made from glass curtain walls, reflecting everything around them and change the form of the building, depending on its location and what angle it’s
viewed from. A building can almost disappear into the sky as it reflects the clouds, or recall its historic context as old buildings are reflected in the faces of new ones.


This award design is based on these two concepts – the skyline and reflections. Adapting the long horizontal skyline to a narrow taller shape more suitable for an award was a challenge. Between photographs and Google maps, rough widths and heights of the buildings seen in the downtown portion of the skyline were drawn out in three layers. Raising the layer heights in increments towards the center reflects the hills in Halifax as well. Wrapping the layers into a circular form connecting the North end to the South end of the skyline, also represents community connection. We are all wrapped up in this city together, and the space is ours to share and urban planners must develop and design around that fact.

The form was then mirrored and connected to the bottom of the main piece, in order to represent these window and water reflections of the skyline and it’s varying parts, and how they all come together to form one “identity” of Halifax. The award is made out of varying types of wood to represent one of the main building materials of the city, as well as the nature that we are surrounded by.

I was unable to produce it out of solid walnut and maple wood due to a near $1000 cost, so I created a prototype from lasercut plywood and painted it.

© 2018 by Shayla Obrigewitsch