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MacEwen Award 2022 entries now closed

Eleanor Young

Which projects this year have stood out to you as doing more than simply catering for their clients? Time is running out to celebrate architecture made for the common good

Last year’s MacEwen winner, Hackney School of Food by Surman Weston.
Last year’s MacEwen winner, Hackney School of Food by Surman Weston. Credit: Jim Stephenson
Architecture is said to follow money. But MacEwen Award winners demonstrate that value comes in many forms. See the longlist, shortlist and winners on as they are announced. 
Architects’ skills are never more precious than when applied to projects that will touch the lives of the most disadvantaged in our society. Often working for projects on a shoestring, architects develop briefs, source funding and bring together volunteers; they repurpose existing buildings and explore new typologies. Who could have conceived that a caretakers’ house turned community food school even existed, let alone that it would win last year’s MacEwen Award? Yet Surman Weston’s School of Food in Hackney did just that. And what about the old terraced house that Assemble helped grow into a community hub in Granby?
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 demonstrable and wide social benefit. It brings together the well known with the up-and-coming, the national with the local.
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 MacEwen Award is named after Anni and Malcolm MacEwen, she first an urban planner who pioneered a conservation- based approach to regeneration in 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.
The deadline is 2pm on Monday 15 ­November. 


Judges will be looking for a proactive, project-appropriate approach; architectural ingenuity and evidence of social, environmental and economic benefit to the wider community.

Denise Bennetts, co-founder, Bennetts Associates

Kathy MacEwen, planner and daughter of Malcolm and Anni MacEwen

Robyn Poulson, architect, BDP

Tom Surman and Percy Weston, Surman Weston, MacEwen Award 2021 winner for Hackney School of Food

Eleanor Young, acting editor RIBA Journal (chair)

To enter you will need:

  • Project details and credits
  • Client statement
  • Outline of the beneficial impact of the scheme
  • Images and drawings
Assemble’s Granby Winter Garden by was commended by the last year’s MacEwen Award judges.
Assemble’s Granby Winter Garden by was commended by the last year’s MacEwen Award judges. Credit: Assemble


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. Projects must have been broadly physically completed within two years of the entry date of 15 November 2021 and must not have been previously entered for the MacEwen Award. 

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 will be announced shortly

In the event of an evaluation panel member being unable to continue to act through illness or any other cause, the RIBA reserves 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 24 September 2021

Submission deadline

Monday 15 November 2021 by 14.00 hrs

Evaluation of entries with panel and winners agreed

Friday 26 November 2021

Email notification to entrants

Tuesday 14 December 2021

Longlist announced on

Wednesday 15 December 2021

Shortlist announced on

Mid 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

Six images and drawings of project

9. Submission method

Each design submission should be uploaded before 14.00 hours on Monday 15 November 2021.

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 be 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. 

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