Canada’s Electric Fuelling Station of the Future competition winners unveiled, Scottish architect claims first prizeNews
Feb 1, 2022
Emma Jarratt

Edinburgh architect James Silvester’s “More with Less” design is the competition winner, topping a field of over 100 international entrants. Nods also go to projects from Turkey, Germany, China, Russia and Canada

Edinburgh architect James Silvester’s “More with Less” design is the competition winner, topping a field of over 100 international entrants. Nods also go to projects from Turkey, Germany, China, Russia and Canada

A potential solution to Canada’s highway EV charging future was today announced as the winning entries — judged by a 10-person jury panel for the Electric Fuelling Station of the Future design awards — were revealed.

The competition, presented by Electric Autonomy Canada in partnership with Parkland Corp., was a five-month, international search to find the design community’s best answer to the question: “How can we reimagine the highway gas station of today as a new Canadian roadside oasis for electric vehicles?”

headshot of James Silvester
James Silvester, first prize winner of the design competition and lead architect at JAS Group. Photo: James Silvester/LinkedIn

James Silvester, the lead architect at JAS Group based out of Edinburgh, Scotland, is the first prize winner with his design entitled “More with Less.”

In addition to winning the first place $25,000 purse, Electric Autonomy Canada can exclusively confirm Parkland plans to build Silvester’s design, per an announcement made by the company today. The initial site will be ini British Columbia, confirmed by Darren Smart senior vice president of strategy and corporate development at Parkland.

Silvester has worked on major projects in the Middle East and China and is “passionate about achieving sustainability through design,” according to his professional biography.

“You could easily run away with a project like this and design something that’s more theoretical and out there, but I wanted to understand what this could be today. Not fireworks and glitz and glam but something that’s of its time,” said Silvester in competition materials.

“I wanted to understand what this could be today. Not fireworks and glitz and glam but something that’s of its time”

James Silvester, Lead Architect, JAS Group

“My proposal for the future charging station is an environment that relaxes, slows and centres the soul. The result is not simply a process on the journey — but a space meant to be enjoyed.”

“More with Less” is a vision that, in the jury’s opinion, captures the best of design with the best of what electric vehicle charging has to offer drivers: a chance to recharge the vehicles and themselves.

Silvester is followed by second prize winner Fabric.a Architects from Istanbul, Turkey, who designed “The Circle,” and third prize winner Pavel Babiienko from Berlin, Germany, with “Plug and Play.”

Honourable mentions were given to design groups SUPERSPACE from Istanbul; Credohus Architects from Guangzhou, China; ZERNO from Krasnoyarsk, Russia, and BWKNITTER from Berlin. Honourable mentions also went to architects Xiaohan Ding and Zhan Ran from Beijing; Maria Lepina from Pravdinsky, Russia; Vladislav Rakitin from Saint Petersburg; Sean Solowski from Toronto; Sean Whaling from Los Angeles; and Yutian Tang from New York City.

“You don’t usually get a chance to think about mobility and how design and architecture can be a part of this transformation”

Selçuk Kişmir, Fabric.a Architects

Impetus for the challenge

Immediate, rapid growth in electric vehicle use is essential for Canada to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions from transportation (currently 25 per cent of our total GHG emissions). Yet despite recent increases in EV selection and charging availability, research finds Canadians continue to cite range anxiety as a primary barrier to adoption.

Headshot of Selcuk Kismir
Selçuk Kişmir, from Fabric.a Architects, is the second prize winner of the design competition. Photo: Selçuk Kişmir/LinkedIn

Enter the design competition: a visionary and futuristic approach to countering the misconception that not only are electric vehicles unable to get Canadians where they need to go, but that the public charging experience must be an unpleasant part of the journey.

“You don’t usually get a chance to think about mobility and how design and architecture can be a part of this transformation happening now all around the world,” said second prize winner Selçuk Kişmir of Fabric.a Architects in the design awards press materials.

It may seem unexpected that the key to solving electric transportation’s greatest stumbling block lies in the architecture community. But what all the designers in the competition instinctively understood is that stopping mid-trip to charge should and could be a destination in and of itself.

headshot of Pavel Babiienko
Pavel Babiienko, third prize winner of design competition and architect at Bundschuh Architekten. Photo: Pavel Babiienko/LinkedIn

“When you are thinking about the context of a station, sometimes there is almost nothing around. That allows you to really speculate about the environment you’re creating. Will you relax on the way? Will you do something active? Will you study or work? Will you spend time with other people?” said third prize winner Pavel Babiienko.

High calibre of entries

Canada’s first highway EV charging station design competition drew intense interest from around the globe.

While just a handful of entrants are showcased in today’s unveiling, the jury members all emphasized that each design brought notable, visually appealing and viable ideas about the future of charging to the table.

“Will you relax on the way? Will you do something active? Will you study or work? Will you spend time with other people?”

Third Prize Winner, Pavel Babiienko

Many of the designs relied on timber (in some cases a deliberate nod to the Canadian environment) and several incorporated clean power generating technologies. Nearly all designs leaned into fostering a sense of community among EV drivers and each building represents a rethinking about EV charging as purpose-built infrastructure.

“From Turkey to Kazakhstan, Poland to Portugal and China to Canada, our team and jury was overwhelmed with the quality of submissions from around the globe. We’re confident that the concepts will spark a holistic rethinking — from the ground up — of the unique refuelling requirements and opportunities of EVs versus gas vehicles,” said Nino Di Cara, founder and president of Electric Autonomy Canada in the competition press release.

Prizes and future plans

The purse for the design competition is $40,000.

For first prize, Silvester will take home $25,000; Fabric.a Architects is awarded $10,000 and Babiienko takes $5,000. Each of the winners will have their design submitted to architectural magazines and websites and will be featured on the Electric Autonomy website.

There is keen interest from industry stakeholders to make sure that the right vision is eventually turned into reality.

“Our intent is to progress the dialogue and future design elements through the lens of an electric vehicle customer, rather than through the restrictions of a retrofitted design that was originally built to meet a different customer need,” explained Ian White, senior vice president of strategic marketing and innovation at Parkland.

Stakeholders for the competition hope the ideas, research and insights gained from the experience will tangibly impact and help inform a roadmap for the future of Canada’s EV highway charging — a future that’s coming on at full speed.

The full list of winners and honourable mentions can be found at the Electric Fuelling Station of the Future Design Competition winners website. The Electric Fuelling Station of the Future is presented in partnership with Parkland Corp., Cadillac, CIBC and Dentons.

Watch the above video of the winners announcement for more insights on the winning designs.
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