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More ethics than aesthetics

After last year’s success, the 2016 MacEwen Award for projects with social responsibility is open to entries

Less aesthetics, more ethics, as we say. We look for buildings, places and spaces that actively benefit society as a whole, and we are very relaxed as to how you define that. Its first year was a great success – see the results in our February 2016 issue. Now we’re calling for entries for MacEwen’s second outing. You can nominate your own project, or someone else’s, and it is free to enter.  The deadline is Monday November 7. Don’t delay, get going!

When we launched the award last year, we described it as a “journalistic investigation”, because we really didn’t know what kinds of buildings and places would be put forward. We named it after Malcolm and Anni MacEwen (above) – he a campaigning journalist and 1960s editor of RIBAJ, she a pioneering conservation-based town planner, together a formidable married team who tackled urban, rural and ‘sustainability’ issues before the word was in common use. We received strong support for the idea from across the profession and beyond it. Would anyone enter, we fretted? Oh yes. They certainly did.

Now as then, we want to see projects “with a clear social benefit, right across society”, the work not only of architects but also engineers, landscape architects and town planners. And we’re good with joy, fun, pizazz, and plain design talent, too.

Last year the entries broadly fell into seven categories – housing, education, social enterprise, alternative workplaces, rural initiatives, youth/play centres and public spaces. The overall winner was a 1980s Segal-method office building taken to pieces, transported across London and reassembled by volunteers in a different form to become the Oasis Children’s Venture – all under the direction of architecture students (now architects) Benjamin Barfield Marks and Matt Atkins. Safe to say there won’t be another one like that along for a while. So we’re not prescriptive. Surprise us!

Projects must be in the UK and Ireland, must have been broadly physically completed within the two years to 1 November 2016, and must not have been entered for the MacEwen Award before. A phase of a longer-term project is eligible. Anyone may enter a project, but an architect must have been involved as part of the design team. The number of awards and commendations given will be at the judges’ discretion, and published in the RIBA Journal.

Information required:

  •  Name, location and description of project (300-500 words) explaining the beneficial social impact of the scheme.
  • Credit list of consultants and clients
  • Maximum of six images, to include photos and drawings.
  • Deadline for submissions: Monday 7 November, 2016
  • Download the entry form below