In search for architecture for the common good we bring you 24 projects stuffed full of good things
One of the great things about the MacEwen Award – our annual search for the best examples of architecture for the common good – is that it brings forth localist projects from around the British Isles which do good things in a quiet way, often on rock-bottom budgets, that would very often not make the pages or websites of architecture magazines at all.
One of our ways of describing this is 'more ethics, less aesthetics'. We’re not interested in style for style’s sake but we ARE very interested in the uses to which the projects are put, and how they came to be. To judge by your response from last year’s award, we know that you are too. So we are revealing online our 24-strong longlist for this year’s award – amounting to nearly half of the overall entry – which we set before our judges a few weeks ago. Later we will announce the shortlist and finally, in time for our February magazine, our overall winner and commendations.
The longlist ranges far and wide. There are schools with a difference, enlightened rural and urban housing schemes, youth centres, ingenious re-uses of historic or simply abandoned buildings, 'meanwhile uses' on derelict or just previously charmless sites. There are places that make good things out of waste, townscape improvement schemes, rural workshops and shelters, two piers, a health centre and a mobile museum in a converted library truck.
Nothing ties any of these together aesthetically – there is no MacEwen Award 'look'. But all are places with clear objectives which demonstrably make people’s lives better. So enjoy the longlist, and thanks from me as one judge to our others – planner Kathy MacEwen, client Iain Tuckett of Coin Street Community Builders, architects Tatiana von Preussen (vPPR) and Steve Tompkins (Haworth Tompkins).
Learning and doing