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MacEwen Award 2024 is now closed

Isabelle Priest

Inclusion, sustainability, strengthening communities, tackling economic deprivation... architecture can address these burning issues – has yours? Check back here though December to January 2024 to see the best schemes for the common good

Jubilee Pool, Penzance by Scott Whitby Studio.
Jubilee Pool, Penzance by Scott Whitby Studio. Credit: Jim Stephenson

Have you completed a project that has been particularly inclusive? Perhaps one that provides something extra for the community? Or one that is really sustainable and good for the planet? Any kind of project that tackles one of the pressing social, economic or environmental issues of our time? If you have, the MacEwen Award 2024 is awaiting your entry. RIBA Journal is on the lookout for the latest projects which have gone above and beyond in architecture for the common good.

The RIBAJ MacEwen Award was launched in 2016 to discover and celebrate architecture with a greater purpose that perhaps took that bit more effort but that has reaped more various rewards. Each year the award has grown and developed. We’ve always been flexible as to what ‘common good’ can mean – entrants show us as the context of architecture changes. But at their core, the awards are about architecture that is responsible and acts in the wider interest. In 2023, the winner was Scott Whitby Studio’s Jubilee Pool, which saved a historic lido in Penzance. The practice was involved in raising awareness, funding and sparking community involvement, as well as designing a new café, community space, restoring the historic building and turning a portion of the sea pool into a year-round swimming area through geothermal energy.

Entries could, however, enliven a street, create a wonderful sense of place, or tackle world issues, for example, yet should do so with dignity and joy. The award brings together the biggest projects with the tiniest; well-known practices with up and coming; national schemes with 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 deadline is 2pm, Wednesday 1st November 2023.

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

Wraxall Yard by Clementine Blakemore.
Wraxall Yard by Clementine Blakemore. Credit: Emma Lewis


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 and 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 is expected to be as follows (may be subject to change):

- Isabelle Priest, managing editor, RIBA Journal (chair)

- Alex Scott-Whitby, founding director, Scott Whitby Studio

- Je Ahn, founding director, Studio Weave

- Stacey Barry, architect, BDP

- Kathy MacEwen, planner and daughter of Anni and Malcolm MacEwen

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 launches

 Monday 24 July 2023

Submission deadline

 Wednesday 1 November 2023 by 14.00 hrs

Evaluation of entries with panel and winners agreed

 Wednesday 15 November 2023

Longlist announced on

 Tuesday 12 December 2023

Shortlist announced on

 Tuesday 16 January 2024

Result announced in RIBA Journal and on

 Monday 29 January and Tuesday 30 January 2024


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 Wednesday 1st November 2023.

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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