International Ideas Competition Reinventing Our Rivers: Four Rivers, Three Winners

Ville de Québec, Canada, 2017-10-16 - On September 19, 2017, the City of Québec presented the three winning teams in the Reinventing Our Rivers competition. In attendance were Régis Labeaume, mayor of Québec City, and Julie Lemieux, vice chair of the executive committee responsible for culture, heritage, and urban planning. 

The U.S. team CADASTER from Brooklyn took home the $100,000 first prize. The second prize of $60,000 went to the White Arkitekter team, representing Norway, with members from Europe, the U.S., and Canada. The third place prize of $40,000 went to the JOO HYUNG OH team from Glendale, California. 

“The quality of the proposals we received was very high, but the three selected by the jury stood out from the rest,” said Mayor Régis Labeaume. “We’re thrilled by the ideas they came up with, and we now have a great jumping-off point to develop our rivers in the years ahead.” 

A top notch jury

An international jury, led by architect Jandrik Hoesktra from the Netherlands, was assembled to select the winners: 

  • Claude Cormier, landscape architect, Montréal
  • Jérôme Dupras, ecologist and professor at Université du Québec en Outaouais, Gatineau 
  • Ken Greenberg, urban designer and professor at Ryerson University, Toronto
  • Julie Lemieux, vice chair of the executive committee responsible for culture, heritage, and urban planning, Québec City
  • Jacques Soignon, director of the Department of Green Spaces and the Environment, Nantes
  • Annie Tardivon, landscape architect, urban planner, and tenured professor, Agence INUITS, Paris

The jury’s deliberations sparked useful discussions about the impact of the competition for Québec City. The selection process also got the ball rolling on the long-term planning for the rivers. The jury members discussed the proposals and noted that each one contained ideas that could be useful in drawing up the River Development Master Plan. 

“The quality of the jury and the knowledge the members brought the table fuelled some very productive discussions about Québec City’s rivers,” said Julie Lemieux. “Not only did we review each proposal in detail to select the winners, we also looked for ideas that would help us envisage the future. In addition to river development per se, we also took into account the challenges posed by current environmental requirements and by climate change so we would make choices that respect the rivers’ ecosystems.”

Four rivers, three winners 

First place

The CADASTER team, Brooklyn, United States: 

  • Gabriel Cuellar, Urban Design (U.S.)
  • Athar Mufreh, Landscape Architecture and Environment (U.S.)

The Headwater Lot proposal offered realistic, concrete solutions to the questions of river accessibility and use that are smart yet simple. The team’s keen understanding of the community and its environment showed in their plans for reconnecting the urban fabric with the natural environment , which won over the jury. Their proposal sent a powerful message, conveying a clear, simple development strategy that works for all four rivers and that could have a major impact on the future of the rivers, the development of the city, and the daily lives of its residents. 

Second place

The WHITE Arkitekter team,  Oslo, Norway:

  • Jenny Mäki, Architect (Sweden)
  • Eric Reid, Landscape Architect (Canada)
  • Rebekah Schaberg, Urban Planner (U.S.)
  • Anna Graf, Environmental Design Specialist (Sweden)
  • Joan Rassmusen, Architect (Denmark)
  • Sander Schuur, Sustainable Water Management (Netherlands)
  • Niels de Bruin, Landscape Architect (Sweden)

This proposal was evocatively titled Parc des quatre rivières, National Urban Park of Québec. The jury loved the idea of a national urban park. They found it bold and innovative. The intentions were clear and the proposed methods convincing. The overall theme and its multiple applications highlight the right of residents to enjoy the rivers in different ways, with the addition of many new park features to help bridge the divide between urban and natural environments and encourage residents to truly reconnect with the rivers. 

Third place

The JOO HYUNG OH team from Glendale, United States:

  • Joohyung Oh, Architect (Pentatonic, U.S.)
  • Jae Ho Yoon, Urban Designer (Pentatonic, South Korea)
  • Su In Kim, Architect (Pentatonic, South Korea)
  • Hyuksung Kwon, Landscape Designer (Pentatonic, South Korea)
  • Sunjae Yu, City Planner (Pentatonic, South Korea)

Called The Loop, Reinventing Our Rivers, this highly imaginative proposal grabbed the jury’s attention. The proposal generated strong reactions among the jury, with some members applauding it for its boldly imaginative scope and others underscoring certain flaws. In general, the proposal was very powerful as an idealized, utopian vision, but hard to imagine in terms of real world implementation. Nonetheless, the wealth of inspirational ideas it contained—it was an ideas competition, after all—earned this proposal a place among the winners. 

To view the winning proposals, visit 

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