December 10, 2011

Georgie Awards’ finalists announced

Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, event celebrates excellence in home-building industry

BY LESLIE PETERSON

It all began in 1992, the year in which then-mayor Gordon Campbell announced the New City Plan to “reflect the Vancouver of today … and projects a Vancouver for tomorrow.” Equally far-thinking, in that year a small group of members of our residential home-building industry established the annual Georgie Awards to highlight and celebrate home-building excellence. Provincial in scope, attracting hundreds of entries, the awards recognize all aspects of the industry, from sales and marketing to interior design, from builders and renovators to landscape architects and graphic artists.

The inspiration of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association of British Columbia (CHBA BC), this year marks the 20th anniversary of the awards, over which time highly skilled members have proved their talents, whether creating multi-million-dollar mansions, breathtaking outdoor spaces, cosy condos or master-planned communities.

The benefits for both industry and the consumer are considerable, says CHBA BC president Doug Wittal, one of the original Georgie Award winners. “People love dealing with a Georgie Award winner; it’s one of a company’s biggest advertising tools because it brings instant credibility, it sends a powerful message to the consumer.”  It is no exaggeration to say these magnificent homes — brand new or skilfully transformed — are the stuff of dreams. Entries, up 20 per cent from last year, show an impressive breadth and quality; finalists were announced last month and will compete for gold at the awards gala in February.

Highlights among this year’s finalists include Homescape Building & Design’s multi-million-dollar Holler Residence in Penticton, as well as G.D. Nielsen’s three architecturally stunning West Vancouver homes, earning eight separate finalist awards.

CHBA BC’S builders and renovators keep reaching new heights. Rob Capar’s maison d’etre design-build has carved out a niche for himself as a master of small-space design while newcomers such as Victoria’s M. Knight Construction are represented in the over $5 million and outdoor living-space categories.  B.C.’s builders of highrises are world-renowned for their accomplishments. Three outstanding examples found among the 2011 Georgie finalists: Bosa Properties’ Jameson House, Concert Real Estate’s Patina and Solterra Development’s Dolce at Symphony Place.

Jameson House, a 36-storey Coal Harbour tower with 136 residences, offices and retail space, has been described as “an impressive and iconic architectural statement and a stunning addition to Vancouver’s skyline.” Its design, by Foster and Partners, is thoroughly modern, with four visually striking curved bays.  Patina, in the heart of Vancouver’s downtown peninsula, rises 42 storeys on Barclay Street from a base of preserved mid-century masonry. Its architecture: bold urbanism that harmonizes with the smaller scale of the older residential West End. Amenities include a roof garden with panoramic views of the city.  Dolce at Symphony Place, at Smithe and Richards, comprising 198 town houses, lofts and apartments in a 32-storey building, and sits at a cultural crossroad, close to the Orpheum Theatre, with Gastown to the north and Yaletown to the south, Rogers Arena and BC Place to the east. Its companion tower, Vita, earned nine finalist awards last year.

Quirky names lend cachet to some of the submissions, lifting them above the crowd for example; maison d’etre’s Everything and the Kitchen Sink, reVISION’S Ritz it up on Richards, and Klondike Contracting’s Life in the Fast Lane

Over the history of the Georgie Awards two members – ParkLane Homes and Adera Development Corporation — have been given the prestigious Platinum Award, created to recognize companies that have received 25 Georgie Awards or more. This year, there is a distinct possibility that two more companies – Portrait Homes (with 24 to date) and MAC Marketing Solutions (with 22) will join their ranks.  Competition intensifies each year. This time, Best Interior Design Suite featured so many exceptional entrants that the category was split into multi-family and single-family. In addition, Most Innovative Feature attracted so many entries that the category expanded to include Best Unique Feature.

Quirky names lend cachet to some of the submissions, lifting them above the crowd, for example maison d’etre’s Everything and the Kitchen Sink, reVISION’S Ritz it up on Richards and Klondike Contracting’s Life in the Fast Lane.  Finalists for the three Customer Choice Georgie Awards, including Large Volume Single Family and Large Volume Multi-Family Home Builder and Residential Renovator of the Year, will be announced in January. The 2011 Georgie Awards gala will be held Feb. 25, 2012 at the Vancouver Convention Centre West.

To view a complete list of Georgie Awards finalists and their fabulous homes and communities check the website: www.georgieawards.ca.

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