MacEwen Awards longlist shows a multitude of ways to design and build for the common good. Isabelle Priest presents the 32 projects that have come this far and are hoping to reach the next round in January
This year’s longlist for the MacEwen Awards is in and it comprises 32 schemes spread across all sorts of initiatives for the common good. The 2023 longlist divides broadly into up to seven projects across seven categories.
Our largest category this year is workplace and social enterprise which includes a cinema, black-led cultural organisation and an all-female initiative to regenerate Watchet in Somerset via a new multi-purpose building. In second place, with six projects, is our urban regeneration category which is peppered with post-Covid high street schemes designed to bring more life back in town and city centres through public realm initiatives. Following close behind is community support where we see several churches that have been adapted and evolved to create sustainable revenue streams, as well as a pair of London buses that have been repurposed to provide vital services for people who are homeless in the city.
In the educational category there is a school zero-carbon education and retrofit project across five schools in Lewisham. Meanwhile, in rural revitalisation we have a school turned community facility in Dumfries and Galloway as well as a fascinating diverse mixed-use scheme in Devon that includes a skatepark, small-scale farming, play areas, ceramics studios, surfboard shaping workshops and more.
Lastly, in the heritage renewal category we have a former industrial building in Birmingham transformed into an active travel hub and in the back to nature category an urban farm café in Bath that uses its own produce and reinvests all its profits into its community projects and for animal feed.
There, of course, are lots more projects to discover in between. Enjoy, and come back to see which projects made our judges’ shortlist in mid-January. The winners will be announced at the end of January and in the RIBAJ February 2023 print edition.
Edith Neville Primary School, Somers Town, London, by Hayhurst & Co Architects for London Borough of Camden
CLT frame primary school with nursery community places in inner London that is naturally ventilated and BREEAM Excellent, with associated public realm. It aims to raise the ambitions of the children in a socio-economically deprived area between Euston and St Pancras stations.
NUCastle, Newcastle upon Tyne, by Ryder Architecture for Newcastle United Foundation
A lively, state of the art community facility and new home for the Newcastle United Foundation with a focus on improving physical health, supporting mental wellbeing, and increasing employability opportunities. The building provides classrooms, seminar room, e-sports rooms and a playing field on the roof.
Lewisham Zero Carbon Schools: Dalmain, Downderry, Myatt Garden, Torridon and St Winifred’s primary schools, Lewisham, London, by Retrofit Action for Tomorrow (RAFT) for Dalmain Primary School
An educational workshop and zero-carbon planning project at one school that expanded into a programme of participatory engagement and design at five schools, including whole-building retrofit measures at three of them with funding from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme.
Building a Martian House, M Shed Square, Bristol, by Broughton Architects and Pearce for Ella Good and Nicki Kent
Public art project with learning objective on how humans might live on Mars. Collaboration between artists, space scientists, engineers, architects, contractors and the public. The public programme of workshops and talks focuses on sustainability and resourcefulness.
The Fifth Trust Skills Centre, Barham, near Canterbury, Kent, by Hazle McCormack Young for The Fifth Trust
Site redevelopment project that replaces the trust’s existing 30-year-old huts accommodation with modern, accessible and future-proofed facilities that support 150 adults with learning difficulties per week.
NW2 Participation Building and Theatre Square, Ipswich, by WGP Architects for The New Wolsey Theatre
NW2 is the first phase of 60,000m2 of development and a gateway scheme to Ipswich town centre. As a community building linked to the theatre it enlivens a public square, cleverly integrating an existing car park.
St Hilda's, Redcar, by Chance de Silva for Kirkleatham Parochial Church Council
A new timber-clad church and multipurpose space for the local community, developed with parishioners and thorough engagement. An inspiring fund-raising effort from local people, including cake sales, has led to a more sustainable and lively resource.
Driving for Change at St Martin’s Le Grand in the City of London, Hackney Town Hall and Gillett Square in Dalston, by tp bennett for Change Please
Pilot scheme for two London buses repurposed to provide vital services to the homeless and vulnerable including access to GP consultations, haircuts, dental care, training, employment support, shower facilities, therapy assessments and everyday items. Project to be expanded to Manchester and beyond.
Wash Your Words, Blackpool, by Lee Ivett (Baxendale) + Ecaterina Stefanescu (Estudio ESSE) for LeftCoast
A project that addresses localised issues of fuel poverty and limited access to laundry facilities. The scheme combines a library with a space to do laundry in a former housing office and was built entirely by volunteers.
Dundonald Church, Raynes Park, London, by Brimelow McSweeney Architects for Dundonald Church
Built on a former factory, this new church with 18 units of housing above and a 670-seat auditorium has facilitated a 50% growth in congregation numbers. Wide community programme including a pay-as-you-want café.
Public Streetscapes, Enfield town centres, London, by Jan Kattein Architects for Enfield Council
Temporary interventions across Enfield's town centres post pandemic to entice visitors back with a three pronged approach including culture and entertainment, outdoor trading and physical improvements.
A pedestrianisation project that transformed one traffic lane into a temporary 0.5km long urban garden for incidental play and urban greenery to give space to local people who live in apartments without outdoor space, and was a huge collaboration between the Department for Infrastructure and Belfast City Council.
Lockwood Way Industrial Estate, Waltham Forest, by We Made That for Waltham Forest Council
Transformation project of an industrial estate into a social hub for local businesses and expansion of the breweries that form part of Walthamstow Beer Mile. The project includes a canopy structure, movable furniture and building frontage improvements.
Holyrood Street Cafe and Public Realm, Southwark, London, by Sanchez Benton Architects for Southwark Council
Inventive leftover public realm project in Southwark designed to reinvigorate a forgotten triangular plot and a tall end wall. It has become a kiosk with accessible WC, bin store, public water supply and store for beer garden furniture.
Spark Lab Ilford, London, by Jan Kattein Architects for Redbridge Council
Series of initiatives to transform Ilford into cultural destination, including an incubation for cultural organisations and local businesses wanting to trial a high street presence on the ground floor of a vacant department store, as well as street greening programme.
Common Wealth Table, Cathedral Square, Birmingham, by Intervention Architecture for Birmingham Cathedral and Arts&Heritage
Public realm project to create a covered space for wellbeing in the centre of the city for the Birmingham 2022 Festival. The installation became a place for the general public to gather, pause and socialise and could be booked for events, workshops and performances.
FC Designer Workspace, Finsbury Park, London, by Studio Partington for Fashion-Enter Limited
Disused garages on a social housing estate in north London have been transformed into spaces for a social enterprise that supports and nutures local residents and businesses within fashion and garment industry. The project reactivates the street frontage and provides more secure entrance to the flats above.
The Hithe, 71-75 Albion Street, London, by IF_DO for Meanwhile Space CIC
The Hithe is a low-cost business incubator space in Rotherhithe, south London. It is a prototype for a new generation of affordable, demountable and reusable buildings that can use vacant sites for social good.
The Lexi Cinema & Lexi Hub, Kensal Rise, NW London by RISE Design Studio for The Lexi Cinema
A carefully designed and consulted upon second screen annexe to an existing social enterprise cinema in Kensal Rise, intended to support its revenue generation. The project revitalises a 99m2 parcel of vacant land in the rear car park and includes a new fit-out of the original screening room.
Shakespeare North Playhouse, Prescot, Knowsley, by Helm Architecture for Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council
Large new theatre in the town centre, spearheaded by the local authority as part of a regeneration programme to encourage visitors. Seen as forming part of a triangle for Shakespeare fans with Stratford-upon-Avon and the Globe, London.
198 Contemporary Arts & Learning, Brixton/Herne Hill, London, by CarverHaggard Architects for 198 CAL
A radical retrofit and extension of a black-led and owned visual arts organisation in Brixton that transforms a concrete single storey parade of shops with a two-storey lightweight timber addition.
Greyfriars Charteris Centre, Pleasance, Edinburgh, by Konishi Gaffney Architects for Greyfriars Charteris Centre
Former church redeveloped by the church into a community facility, rather than sold off for housing. The project includes the refurbishment of the existing hall and extension and is a new base for social enterprises, charities, local groups, offices, meeting rooms, desk hire and event spaces.
East Quay, Watchet, West Somerset, by Invisible Studio for Onion Collective CIC
A community interest company building project developed by a female-led social enterprise that includes a diverse programme to bring visitors and skills to the town, including an art gallery, studios, workshops, an educational space, café, bookshop and holiday accommodation pods.
Outside, Bantham, Devon, by IDK for Outside
A year-round hub that is part farm, part leisure facility, part workspace, on a 2-acre plot. Outside provides space for skateboarding, small-scale farming, orchard, play areas and football, while the building hosts a cafe and mixed use hub space, ceramics studios and surfboard shaping workshops.
The Bothy and Tùr at Cuningar Loop, Rutherglen, by jmarchitects for Clyde Gateway
Part of the investment in Cuningar Loop Woodland Park, a new building provides a base for local groups and activities that encourage a wider range of users, while a lookout platform invites visitors to climb above the tree canopy to see views across Glasgow and South Lanarkshire.
Wraxall Yard, West Dorset, by Clementine Blakemore Architects for Wraxall Yard
Community interest company scheme driven by belief everyone should have opportunity to engage with farming and wildlife. Located on a derelict dairy, the project provides holiday accommodation, community space, an educational smallholding and is designed for all access.
Glentrool Hive, Glentrool, Dumfries and Galloway, by John Gilbert Architects for Glentrool & Bargrennan Community Trust
Community retrofit project in Glentrool, Dumfries and Galloway, that converts a 1954 primary school into a community centre with a multifunctional hall, gallery, meeting spaces and a self-catering accommodation wing, while upgrading its energy efficiency and performance.
Camley Street Natural Park Visitor and Learning Centre, London, by Erect Architecture for London Wildlife Trust
New visitor and learning centre, inspired by the Victorian coal drops near the site, with excellent sustainable credentials, that acts as a gatehouse to the park and a way of attracting visitors through its café and generating revenue for the site through its venue spaces.
Bath City Farm Café, Bath, by Hetreed Ross Architects for Bath City Farm
Long-awaited single-storey café that provides a space for visitors and staff, selling fare increasingly grown, reared and made on the farm as a community business with all profits reinvested in the farm’s volunteer projects and animal feed.
Roundhouse Birmingham, Birmingham, by Burrell Foley Fischer Architects for National Trust & Canal and River Trust
Renewal of a grade II* listed important industrial building in the centre of the city that has been transformed through innovative partnerships into an active travel hub to explore the city by foot, bike or water.
Westminster Chapel, Buckingham Gate, London, by Scott Whitby Studio for Westminster Chapel
A low-carbon upgrade to an existing worship space that has been transformed into a multi-purpose room by removing pews, adding a raised stage and inserting acoustic panelling. A glazed partition between the café and hall makes the spaces more user-friendly for all.
Jubilee Pool, Penzance, Cornwall, by Scott Whitby Studio for Jubilee Pool Penzance
Restoration project of a 1930s sea lido that had been threatened with closure. Rescued by the local community and made more sustainable to run all year with geo-thermally heated pool, a new café and community facilities.