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MacEwen Award longlist puts people at the heart of architecture

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Eleanor Young

From a bridge and theatre to zero-carbon housing and a scout hut, a rich longlist of community and sustainable projects offer judges plenty to choose from for the 2022 RIBAJ MacEwen Award

Here is the first stage in the RIBA Journal's MacEwen Awards celebration of architecture for the common good. This year’s longlist sees architects helping the high street adjust to Covid 19. Projects reworking retail include Dallas-Pierce-Quintero’s wide ranging Culture Palace (above) that gave the local authority museum space replacing that which had been displaced by a vaccination centre and brokered peppercorn leases that has brought independents and new activity to Enfield. And two shop takeovers that directly address the food poverty and employment issues that have only become more pronounced during the pandemic.

The majority of the longlist take an old building and make it new. They range from improving acoustic and bring spaces to life with dramatic but inexpensive paint schemes to tackling a complex much loved and mothballed Victorian library in Liverpool. And how do can you make the best use of that unique building type – a morgue? Civic show how it can be done with their Links recording studio.

These are enriching projects. It is apt we celebrate them on some of year’s darkest days – a reminder of the light good architecture can bring. 

For ease we have grouped them in four categories, click below to go to each. 

Community endeavours

Education initiatives

Support structures

Urban and rural revitalisation

Check back here for the MacEwen shortlist on 17th January and the winner and commended projects on 1 Feb.




Bat & Ball Centre, Sevenoaks, Kent by Theis + Khan

Renovation of tired community centre in regeneration area


Credit: Luke Hayes

Culture Palace, Enfield Palace Gardens by Dallas-Pierce-Quintero

Bringing creative energy to vacant shops by brokering deals and creating exciting space


Credit: Alex Campbell

Full Circle @ Docklands Youth & Community Centre, St Pauls, Bristol by Askew Cavanna Architects

Consultation with 120 people informed this inexpensive refurbishment


Credit: Kyle Pearce Photography

Grange Pavilion, Cardiff, Wales by IBI Group, Benham Architects, Grange Pavilion CIO and Cardiff University Community Gateway.

Striking park pavilion with a big mission in Cardiff's most ethnically diverse area


Lighthouse, Monks Hill, Croydon by Atelier Ellis

Gathering place for church and community replacing portacabins with CLT hall


St Margaret’s Church, Southsea, Portsmouth, Hampshire by Studio BAD Architects

Workshopped, phased interventions make many new activities possible from play and café to food bank


Credit: Fotohaus

The Bale House, Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve, Lower Coastguard Lane, Hastings by The Cave Co-operative Ltd

Visitor centre with craft-based build of natural materials with the help of volunteers


Credit: Paul Karalius Photography

The Old Library, Green Lane, Liverpool by OMI Architects

Substantial refurbishment of local Victorian landmark with nursery and community uses


Wiki-House Scout Hut, Whalley Range, Manchester by Architecture Unknown

Working with Wiki-House and structural ply enabled volunteers to a play a large part in this project


Credit: Hufton+Crow

Black Country & Marches Institute of Technology, Zoological Way, Dudley by Cullinan Studio on behalf of the Dudley IoT Project Alliance (Dudley College, Cundall, Speller Metcalfe, GCA, Derry Building Services, Fulcro and Cullinan Studio)

Experimental insurance model helped the whole construction team to pull together to create a sustainable and inexpensive vocational college


Credit: Jim Stephenson

The National Youth Theatre, Holloway Road, London by DSDHA

Serving more young people and the local street within a refurbishment doubling the space


Writtle Junior School Pod, Writtle, Chelmsford Essex by Junior Hard Hats (charity set up as part of this project)

Playground structure which closely involved the school children from design to location to planning


Credit: Lockleaze

Home Made Lockleaze, Lockleaze, Bristol by SNUG Homes / Ecomotive

First of series of net zero-carbon modular housing in deprived neighbourhood being built with community involvement


Credit: Dan Jones

Links Studios, Canning Town, East London by civic

Music as a hook for learning in sound recording studio that uses strong walls of converted morgue for acoustic absorption


Credit: Francisco Ibanez

Nourish Hub, Edward Wood Estate, LB Hammersmith & Fulham by Nourish Hub by RCKa and Inner Circle Consulting

Shops turned food bank and café using co-creation through business plan, design and operation with the aim of eliminating hunger and foodwaste


Credit: Hufton+Crow

Polka Theatre, Wimbledon, London by Foster Wilson Size

Playful remodelling and new building for children's theatre


Credit: Timothy Soar

The Alder Centre, Alder Hey Children's Hospital, Liverpool by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris

Small rooms and garden connections make a special space for counselling those with sick and dying children.


The Archives, Tottenham, London by ROAR

Creative light touch meanwhile reconfigurations of large building in path of Crossrail showing the value of design


Credit: Adelina Iiliev

The Chad Gordon Autism Campus, Waltheof Gardens, Haringey by Pedder & Scampton Architects with Haringey Adult Learning Disability & Autism Team, Haringey Corporate Landlord, Centre 404, SCALD (Severe Complex Autism and Learning Difficulties Reference Group) and ALAG (Asperger London Area Group)

Ingenious repair and repurposing with an eye to sensory issues.


The Harington Scheme, 42-46 High Street, Hornsey, London by Mulroy Architects

Refurb of high street terraces as charity shop and employability hub


Credit: Jan Kattein Architects Ltd

A Common Plan for Claridge Way, Claridge Way, the Moorings, Thamesmead, London by Jan Kattein Architects with Peabody

Thamesmead route turned into a series of events working with different community groups


Bedford Place, Southampton, Hampshire by Studio BAD Architects

Locally-inspired activation of public space with paint and barriers


Credit: Hufton+Crow

Pavilion, Stratford, ACME for Stratford City Business District Ltd

Eye catching timber pavilion as new entry point to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park


Credit: Oskar Proctor

Peveril Gardens and Studios, Great Dover St, London by Sanchez Benton architects

Secret first floor garden on old podium with artist studio space below


Credit: Steve Barber

Pooley New Bridge, Pooley Bridge, Cumbria by Knight Architects

Beautiful bridge in Cumbria connecting remote village that relies on tourism

With thanks to our supporters, BDP

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