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The MacEwen Award 2021: Entries now closed

Hugh Pearman

Have you a project that aids the common good? We are waiting to celebrate schemes that have wide social benefit

Last Year's MacEwen Award winner, Park Palace Ponies by Harrison Stringfellow
Last Year's MacEwen Award winner, Park Palace Ponies by Harrison Stringfellow Credit: HSA

The RIBAJ MacEwen Award is our way of getting to the heart of responsible architecture. We call it 'Architecture for the common good' because it celebrates those built projects – in architecture, engineering and landscape – which are of demonstrable and wide social benefit. It brings together the well-known with the up-and-coming, the national with the local. And it’s time to enter MacEwen 2021! 

As with all the awards we run at RIBAJ, it is free to enter and aims to reach previously under-represented parts of the profession. The deadline is Monday 16 November, 2020, 23.00 hours. 

Imagine the very opposite of a speculative upmarket build-to-leave apartment tower, the kind that does not benefit its community or even grace the skyline, but merely provides somewhere for anonymous investors to park (who knows, even launder) their money. Imagine also the very opposite of the car-dependent dormitory estates, dominated by crude road layouts, which are the standard product of volume housebuilders and somehow contrive to look the same everywhere.  And vast sealed, air-conditioned shopping malls need not apply.  

Imagine instead something like some of the previous winners and commendations in the MacEwen Award: a youth centre in South London made from a moved and reconfigured Segal-method timber office building;  an ambitious and beautiful public-sector care home in Derbyshire;  a Welsh visitor centre that opens up previously private land to the public;  a cinema in Newcastle built by its community out of upcycled materials;  ingenious social housing on infill sites;  Scottish rural workshops made from farm buildings; or our last winner, a derelict former cinema in Liverpool converted into a riding school for city kids. 

The MacEwen Award is named after Anni and Malcolm MacEwen, she an urban planner who pioneered a conservation-based approach to regeneration in both town and country, he a campaigning journalist and former editor of this magazine. This year as last we are delighted to be supported by BDP, a hugely successful multi-discipline practice that has always been guided by a strong social ethos. 


MacEwen highly commended homeless shelter and community cafe, Shelter from the Storm by Holland Harvey.
MacEwen highly commended homeless shelter and community cafe, Shelter from the Storm by Holland Harvey. Credit: Nicholas Worley


Projects must be in the UK, crown dependencies (Man, Jersey, Guernsey) or Ireland. Projects must have been broadly physically completed within the two years to the entry date of November 16 2020, and must not have been entered previously for the MacEwen Award. A phase of a longer-term project is eligible. 

Anyone including clients, local communities and associated professionals may enter a project, but the design team must have included an architect or architecture student. 

The number of awards and commendations given will be at the judges’ discretion: shortlisted entries will be published on, culminating in the winners and commended entries appearing in the RIBA Journal February issue. Subject to social distancing rules at the time, those involved will be invited to a winners’ celebration lunch 


Entry details and required information 

Entries should be submitted online only via the link below.

The deadline for entry is Monday 16 November 2020, 23:00 

Any queries (but NOT entries) to 

Please include the following information in your entry:

  • Name, location and description of project 
  • (300-500 words) explaining the beneficial social impact of the scheme
  • Credit list of consultants and clients 
  • Maximum of six images, to include photos and drawings. 



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