2023 Student Award of Excellence Recipients

The Student Award of Excellence Program is based on the best work of a thesis or practicum, and a studio project.

The Program is intended to recognize and promote excellence in the profession’s educational institutions and recognize excellence in work by students in CSLA’s LAAC-accredited programs. 

Thank you to jurors Nastaran Moradinejad, Matt Williams and Bernard St-Denis.

See the 2023 Awards of Excellence Recipients

Congratulations to the 2023 recipients:

Stefan Herda, Thesis
Seven Generations of Pickering Nuclear

pickeringThe Pickering Nuclear Generating Station is one of the oldest nuclear power stations globally and Canada's second-largest, producing 13% of Ontario's power and 3,000 workers. Operating four years past its life expectancy, Pickering Nuclear is slated for decommissioning in 2025. As Pickering is “mothballed” by its owners, the Ontario Power Generation predicts that the task of its decommissioning will span over several decades.

As nuclear facilities of the Great Lakes region approach the end of their operational lives, landscape architecture can lead the cultural and ecological reimagining of the valuable waterfront sites they occupy. This thesis explores a series of interim and future conditions of the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station as it evolves. Challenging the deterministic approach of master planning, this thesis depicts a range of outcomes across timescales, exploring Pickering Nuclear’s transformation from a source of energy generation into landscapes of carbon sequestration, a site for people and all our relations and potentially, a future site of sustainable energy production.

The jury was very impressed with Mr. Herda's treatment of a pertinent topic with a generational view. The subject challenges current themes in landscape architecture, and his research proposed multiple rigorous and well-developed solutions to return space to public use. The jury was particularly impressed by the thorough research presented in the thesis, accompanied by  a sound, systematic, consistent case around his proposal. 
About Stefan Herda

stefanGrowing up exploring the ravines of Scarborough, Stefan nurtured a curiosity for botanical knowledge and land-based learning that led to a career in the visual arts. After several years of exhibiting and working across diverse media, Stefan redirected his interests toward realizing community projects and understanding successful planting design.

Stefan received his Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art from the University of Guelph and a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Toronto. He was selected as a 2021 Landscape Architecture Canada Foundation Regional Scholar and was awarded the Heather M. Reisman Gold Medal for his thesis "Seven Generations of Pickering Nuclear." As a graduate mentor at Nikibii Dawadinna Giigwag, an Indigenous Youth and Elder-led program based in Ontario, Stefan developed an enthusiasm for cultivating landscape literacy in others. Stefan currently resides in Brooklyn, NY and is a Senior Designer at Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates Inc.

Chloé Henri and Francis Laforest, Studio Project
The Generations Gateway

passerelleThe Generations Gateway is a project that aims to reconcile the private and public realms by restoring access to the banks of the Rivière des Prairies to the residents of the neighbourhood. Located at the rear of the Quartier des générations, it is the unifying piece of the chemin fondateur Gouin. The footbridge offers landscapes with a sober and natural aesthetic; a balance that reflects the desires of the various stakeholders. The new footbridge is a hybrid structure that combines conventional engineering techniques with a green infrastructure. Since the area is currently heavily mineralized, the project aims to transform the area's backyard into a space where coastal biodiversity is is celebrated.

The concept builds on the notions of commons and property rights to provide hierarchical spaces based on the limits of privacy and openness. Thus, the project presents a strategy that spans the private, the semi-private and the public.

According to the jury, this studio project was clear, clever, interesting and well thought-out. It featured excellent graphics, and demonstrated how little interventions that are good technical solutions could have a great impact. The jury was particularly impressed with the broad scale analysis of the project, and the contextualization of the approach with details like interpretive signs, which provide a heightened sense of place.
About Chloé Henri


With a Bachelor's degree in environmental design and a Master's degree in landscape architecture, Chloé Henri explores the relationship between humans and their environment through the multiple scales of design. Her background in visual arts and her experiences working abroad guide a holistic conceptual process with an aesthetic concern. Her interest in Aboriginal issues has led her to undertake university training on the subject and to participate in an anthropological study within a community. She is particularly interested in landscapes as a vehicle for self-determination and political leverage. In this way, she directs her practice towards tactical urbanism using design as a tool towards inclusiveness, environmental awareness and heritage conservation.

She has worked with several social and solidarity organizations that address urban resilience through transitional architecture, urban agriculture, pollinator conservation, heat island mitigation and community landscape enhancement. Her final year project focuses on the creation of intergenerational transmission spaces in the Atikamekw Nehirowisiw community of Manawan. The objective is above all to promote local initiatives, to generate agentivity through participatory design and to bring out the intrinsic qualities of the territory to the outside world. This initiative is the beginning of a professional approach that focuses on empowering planners through reconciliation.

About Francis Laforest

francisFrancis Laforest is a graduate in urban planning and a master's student in landscape architecture. With a background in biology, he is particularly interested in the relationship between good environmental practices in planning and their coherent and aesthetic integration in public space. He quickly developed a strong interest and ability in design and landscape architecture through his academic and professional experiences. He completed a terminal project as part of his master's degree regarding the implementation of green infrastructure in the city. The project included a proposal for a green infrastructure network at the scale of the city of La Prairie, as well as functional and landscape integration criteria on the territory. Francis developed his skills as a landscape architect at Atelier Urbain, as well as in analysis and diagnosis while working for the City of Victoriaville in the transportation and special projects division. He has designed several park, public square and street layouts, in addition to participating in the development of various planning documents (Master Plan, PPU, Urban Plan, Strategic Plan, etc.).

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