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Last few days to enter MacEwen Award 2023

Eleanor Young

Are your designs socially responsible? Which projects this year have done more than simply cater for their clients? Submit your schemes by 2pm Monday 31 October to be in with a chance of winning

Nourish Hub.
Nourish Hub. Credit: Francisco Ibáñez Hantke

How can we empower the people who use streets, cafés, squares, schools and the rest of the important buildings and places that make up our built environment? As increases in the cost of living bite, we need towns, villages and cities that give users agency, creating opportunities for play, for conversation, for community. Over the years the RIBAJ MacEwen Award has recognised projects that give users a chance to be part of the process of design and making. It has rewarded schemes that help clients to support those in need – like at last year’s winner, the engaging Nourish Hub designed by RCKa that tackles issues connected to food and healthy eating (above) – and to go beyond that to serve a wider public, to enliven a street and create a sense of place. We are looking for architecture that builds dignity and joy, and puts the people who live, work and play in and around it in the driving seat.

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 which are of wide and demonstrable 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 2023!

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 2pm, Monday 31st October.

The MacEwen Award is named after Anni and Malcolm MacEwen, the first 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. We are delighted to be supported by BDP, a hugely successful multi-discipline practice that has always been guided by a strong social ethos.

See past winners and announcements

The RIBAJ MacEwen Award is our way of getting to the heart of responsible architecture

Polka Theatre, one of 2022's shortlisted MacEwen Award schemes.
Polka Theatre, one of 2022's shortlisted MacEwen Award schemes. Credit: Hufton + Crow


1. Competition promoter

The competition is being run by the RIBA Journal.  

2. Eligibility

No member or employee of the promoting body, the evaluation panel, or any partner, close associate or employee of them is eligible to compete or assist a competitor.

3. Competition format

The competition will follow the single-phase format. 

A winner and commended projects will be selected. They will be profiled in the RIBA Journal and on

Shortlisted and longlisted entries will also be published.

4. Declaration of authorship & acceptance of competition regulations 

By entering entrants agree to abide by the competition conditions and the decision of the evaluation panel as final. 

Please note the details stated on the form will be used as the credits in all publication and promotional activity so please ensure this is reflected accurately.

5. Evaluation panel

The evaluation panel (which may be subject to change) is expected to comprise:

Takeshi Hayatsu, founder Hayatsu Architects

Joan Kerr, architect associate, BDP Birmingham 

Kathy MacEwen, planner and daughter of Malcolm and Anni MacEwen

Anthony Staples, RCKa, MacEwen Award 2021 winners for Nourish Hub, west London

Isabelle Priest, managing editor, RIBA Journal (chair)

In the event of an evaluation panel member being unable to continue to act through illness or any other cause, the RIBA reserve the right to appoint an alternative panel member.

6. Competition timetable

The anticipated programme, which may be subject to variation, is as follows:

Competition launch

Friday 2 September 2022

Submission deadline

31 October 2022 by 14.00 hrs

Evaluation of entries with panel and winners agreed

Tuesday 15 November 2022

Email notification to entrants

Tuesday 14 December 2021

Longlist announced on

Wednesday 15 December 2021

Shortlist announced on

Wednesday 12 January 2022

Result announced in RIBA Journal and on

Early February 2022


7. Disqualification

Submissions shall be excluded from the competition:

  • If received after the latest time stated under submission method;
  • If, in the opinion of the Evaluation Panel, it does not fulfil the requirements of the competition brief;
  • If any of the mandatory requirements of the competition brief and conditions are disregarded.

8. Submission requirements

Below are the elements to the submission:

Name, location, cost, area, and description of project

Client statement, maximum 100 words

Outline of the beneficial social impact of the scheme, maximum 400 words

Credit list of consultants and client

Up to six images and drawings of project

9. Submission method

Each design submission should be uploaded before 14.00 hours on Tuesday 1st November 2022.

Please note that the total upload should not exceed 30MB.

Late entries will not be accepted and the digital entry system will not permit uploads after the deadline.  You are strongly advised to allow adequate time for your submission material to successfully upload.

10. Evaluation criteria

Demonstration of:

  • A proactive, project-appropriate approach
  • Architectural ingenuity
  • Evidence of social, environmental and economic benefit to the wider community

11. Notification of result / publication and publicity

The competition results will be published after all entrants have been notified. 

Entrants should note that by entering the competition they are expected to honour the request for confidentiality to prevent information of the shortlist or the winning team being leaked before any official announcement is made.

The RIBA reserve the right to publicise the competition, any design submission, and the result in any promotional activity, including all social media channels, as they consider fit.

You grant to the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) permission to reproduce the material supplied in all formats, in all media and all platforms in perpetuity, in whole or in part – either separately, or together with other designs, with or without explanatory text without payment.

Authors will credited and recognised in all associated media and publicity.  This information will be taken from the file names of entered images so please ensure the details are accurate.

12. Enquiries

All enquiries relating to the competition should be directed to:

Members of the evaluation panel should not be contacted for information as this may lead to disqualification from the competition. 


RIBAJ MacEwen Award 2023 is produced with support of BDP


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