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The MacEwen Award 2020: Longlist

Words:
Hugh Pearman

Our annual award shows there are plenty of really imaginative projects that work to make our world better

One of the great things about the annual entry to our MacEwen Award is that it reveals projects of a kind that too often get overlooked, with both well-known and young/emerging architects and clients taking part. What we’re looking for is imaginative ways in which projects make our world better.  

These, remember, are examples of 'architecture for the common good'. Socially responsible design in the built environment, as opposed to the kind of award in which the photogenic image predominates. Less aesthetics, more ethics, in other words. Sometimes there is little in the way of visible built architecture at all, but a lot of design thinking and project enabling has taken place to make something excellent happen.

Again unlike other awards, we take the view that a number of projects which didn’t make the final cut nonetheless fully deserve to be recognised and publicised. So over the winter holiday period we’ll be tweeting the longlist of 30 projects from which our judges decided first a shortlist of a dozen, then the overall winner and commendations.

Then from Monday January 13 we shall start to reveal that shortlist, then the commendations, culminating in the revelation of our overall winner at the start of February.

All clear?  Then we’ll begin. Somewhere in this alphabetically-ordered list of 30 is our eventual MacEwen winner. Scroll down. Can you guess what it is?

Argal workshop and biomass plant near Falmouth. Credit Gluckman Smith
Argal workshop and biomass plant near Falmouth. Credit Gluckman Smith

Argal workshops, Falmouth
Architect: Gluckman Smith

A Cornish former farmstead, previously derelict, is transformed into rural workshops for furniture and product designer James Smith Designs, to Passivhaus standards, so making a new working community.

PAD Studio - foundation-free lightweight artists studios at Sway. Credit PAD Studio
PAD Studio - foundation-free lightweight artists studios at Sway. Credit PAD Studio

Artists Studios, Sway, Hampshire
Architect: PAD Studio

Five light-touch artists studios designed for art charity SPUDworks at the Artsway complex. These little well-lit studios are built on a jackpad system, with no groundworks or foundations needed.  

Beacon of Light, Sunderland.
Beacon of Light, Sunderland.

Beacon of Light, Sunderland
Architect: FaulknerBrowns

A double-decker community football centre right next to Sunderland FC’s stadium. Top deck is a ‘football barn' – pitch under a translucent roof; bottom deck is an events hall and community/education spaces.

Castlebank Horticultural TTraining Centre in Lanark. Credit EKJN
Castlebank Horticultural TTraining Centre in Lanark. Credit EKJN

Castlebank horticultural training centre, Lanark
Architect: EKJN

What began as a collection of neglected and derelict outbuildings behind Castlebank House has become a thriving horticultural training centre, a very popular, much used and valuable community resource.

Centenary Square Manchester by Graeme Massie Architects. Credit Alex Bland
Centenary Square Manchester by Graeme Massie Architects. Credit Alex Bland

Centenary Square Birmingham
Architect: Graeme Massie Architects

Much improved public space. The redevelopment of Centenary Square, completed in July 2019, creates a dynamic and inspiring city square in central Birmingham and a venue for its cultural, civic and leisure events.

Commonweal Pods by Reed Watts. Credit Cameron Maynard
Commonweal Pods by Reed Watts. Credit Cameron Maynard

Commonweal Pods, London and beyond
Architect: Reed Watts

The Commonweal Pods are a series of simple, pre-fabricated, plywood sleeping structures designed for rough sleepers to use in night shelters. They give users privacy, security and somewhere to store their belongings.

The Fife Arms in Braemar by Moxon Architects. Credit Sim Photography
The Fife Arms in Braemar by Moxon Architects. Credit Sim Photography

The Fife Arms, Braemar
Architect: Moxon Architects

The Fife Arms, an old coaching inn in the Scottish village of Braemar, has been restored to its former glory as the centre of the community after an extensive four-year programme of regeneration and restoration.

Forgotten Veterans HQ Portsmouth. Credit Deniz Beck
Forgotten Veterans HQ Portsmouth. Credit Deniz Beck

Forgotten Veterans HQ, Portsmouth
Architect: Deniz Beck Partners

Forgotten Veterans UK is a charity that provides essential support and guidance for Service veterans and their families and supporters. The converted spaces for their use consist of a collection of renovated casemates within Fort Cumberland alongside the charity’s main office.

New building by Dow Jones at the old church frees it up for a variety of uses. Credit Anthony Coleman
New building by Dow Jones at the old church frees it up for a variety of uses. Credit Anthony Coleman

Grand Junction at St Mary Paddington
Architect: Dow Jones Architects

This project transforms an under-used grade I listed church physically, socially and culturally, putting the building back in the service of the local people by means of a new built insertion with flexible spaces for a range of community uses.

Greatham Creek bird hide and some students who made it. Credit Nick Tyrer
Greatham Creek bird hide and some students who made it. Credit Nick Tyrer

Greatham Creek Seal and Bird Hide, Middlesbrough
Architect: Students at Leeds Beckett University, led by architect Nick Tyrer

The project is a student-led live project for two wildlife hides in Greatham Creek nature reserve in north east England. They were built as the final stage of a £16million flood alleviation scheme outside of Middlesbrough and are 'functional sculptures'.

Cheap and cheeful use of leftover space for the Hatch business centre. Credit Jody Hartley
Cheap and cheeful use of leftover space for the Hatch business centre. Credit Jody Hartley

Hatch startup business centre, Manchester
Architect: Planit-ie (landscape)

Hatch is an award-winning addition to Manchester's thriving cultural scene. It is a creative low-budget urban village with retail and leisure at its core, located under the iconic Mancunian Way flyover, in the heart of the city’s Innovation District.

Simple but effective theatre at Higham Hill Park. Credit Lewis Ronald
Simple but effective theatre at Higham Hill Park. Credit Lewis Ronald

Higham Hill theatre, Walthamstow
Architect: vPPR

The project is a small community amphitheatre in Higham Hill Park in Walthamstow, part of Waltham Forest‘s Making Places initiative to deliver public realm improvement works to every ward in the borough.

Landscape at the heart of Maggies Centre Oldham. Credit DRMM
Landscape at the heart of Maggies Centre Oldham. Credit DRMM

Maggie's Centre, Oldham, Manchester
Architect: dRMM

Built in the tough context of the Royal Oldham Hospital, Maggie’s Oldham welcomes and lifts the spirts, enabling people to draw on hidden strengths in order to cope with the many demands of living with cancer. Landscape focussed, it is the first hardwood CLT building in the world.

Market housing cross subsidises affordable rural housing at Manor Farm. Credit HWM Architects
Market housing cross subsidises affordable rural housing at Manor Farm. Credit HWM Architects

Manor Farm community land housing, Cambridge
Architect: Haysom Ward Miller Architects

A community land trust housing development based on historic precedents that cross-subsidises affordable rural housing, workshops and amenity spaces from the sale of market-rate homes.

New visitor centre is also the entrance to the Margate Caves. Credit Kaner Olette Architects
New visitor centre is also the entrance to the Margate Caves. Credit Kaner Olette Architects

Margate Caves improvements
Architect: Kaner Olette

Margate Caves is a community-led initiative to re-open the historic caves to the public and engage the local community with workshops, events and volunteering. A new entrance visitor centre with café does the job elegantly.

Shared space at Marmalade Lane. Credit Mole
Shared space at Marmalade Lane. Credit Mole

Marmalade Lane cohousing, Cambridge
Architect: Mole Architects

Marmalade Lane is the UK's largest cohousing development with 41 homes. It marks the culmination of 10 years’ work by the cohousing group and is a flagship of the custom-build and community-led housing movement.

Spirit of Will Alsop lives on at the Neuron Pod in Whitechapel. Credit aLL Design
Spirit of Will Alsop lives on at the Neuron Pod in Whitechapel. Credit aLL Design

Neuron Pod, Whitechapel
Architect: aLL Design

Neuron Pod is a standalone extension to Centre of the Cell’s (CotC) community engagement programme at the Blizard Institute, a Will Alsop design in Tower Hamlets. Neuron Pod is instrumental in widening participation in science to more young people in the area.

Bank turned community enterprise for bookshop and homeless. Credit Studio B.A.D
Bank turned community enterprise for bookshop and homeless. Credit Studio B.A.D

October Books, Southampton
Architect: Darren Bray, Studio B.A.D

October Books is a non-profit co-operative radical neighbourhood independent book shop. Working in a collaborative consortium with a local homeless charity, it bought a former bank to develop in a unique joint project.

Equine theatre in the heart of Liverpool. Credit Harrison Stringfellow Architects
Equine theatre in the heart of Liverpool. Credit Harrison Stringfellow Architects

Park Palace Ponies, Liverpool
Architect: Harrison Stringfellow

Somewhat surreally, ponies trot round an arena in a half derelict former music hall/cinema in Liverpool’s Dingle. Learning to ride and care for horses in the middle of a city provides skills and engagement for young people, in a strategy established by the architects.

Urban intervention and events space - Potemkin Theatre by Maich Swift. Credit David Grandorge
Urban intervention and events space - Potemkin Theatre by Maich Swift. Credit David Grandorge

Potemkin Theatre, Haggerston
Architect: Maich Swift

This small theatre is the third of the Architecture Foundation’s annual Antepavilion competitions. Self-built, it provided valuable construction skills for architecture students and volunteers and has staged a series of popular events.

Making a place to learn in the great outdoors. Credit University of Plymouth architecture school
Making a place to learn in the great outdoors. Credit University of Plymouth architecture school

Riverside Primary School outdoor classroom, Plymouth
Architect: University of Plymouth architecture students

An outdoor learning space, incorporating a fire-pit as a focal gathering point. Made of recycled materials and providing shelter from the wind, it has revitalised a neglected outdoor area on this primary school’s campus.

Recalling the old Tin Tabernacle, a new community and Samaritans centre. Credit Dan Glasser Photography
Recalling the old Tin Tabernacle, a new community and Samaritans centre. Credit Dan Glasser Photography

Shaftesbury Hall, Bounds Green, London
Architect: Mulroy Architects

The new Shaftesbury Hall provides a purpose-built helpline facility for the North London Samaritans and a hall for the local community on the site of a derelict 'tin tabernacle', originally for railway workers. The new building echoes the form and materials of the old.

How to make an old supermarket into a homeless and community centre. Credit Holland Harvey Architects
How to make an old supermarket into a homeless and community centre. Credit Holland Harvey Architects

Shelter From the Storm homeless shelter, London
Architect: Holland Harvey Architects

Shelter From the Storm is a homeless shelter provided in a former housing estate supermarket. It provides 42 beds, freshly cooked food and support to its guests to help them get back on their feet, plus a public café.

Soil association reception - light touch re-use. Credit Alex Campbell
Soil association reception - light touch re-use. Credit Alex Campbell

Soil Association HQ, Bristol
Architect: Askew Cavanna Architects

The Soil Association is the leading organic food and farming charity. The architect has designed new permanent offices with a public face in a light-touch refurbishment of a 1960s building.

Refuge extends old lodge. Credit Alex Campbell
Refuge extends old lodge. Credit Alex Campbell

St Agnes Lodge refuge, Bristol
Architect: Askew Cavanna Architects

The Green House is a Bristol based charity providing support for children and adults that have experienced sexual abuse. Their new larger home re-uses a former park keeper’s lodge on the initiative of the architects.

A built ark for The Ark - central spine. Credit Gareth Gardner
A built ark for The Ark - central spine. Credit Gareth Gardner

The Ark children’s hospice, Barnet
Architect: Squire and Partners

The Ark is a new highly-sustainable facility for Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice, designed to support children with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions and their families. It is the first new hospice building in London for 10 years.

Not your usual school lab. Credit Hayhurst and Co
Not your usual school lab. Credit Hayhurst and Co

Torriano Primary School STEM lab, London
Architect: Hayhurst and Co

Perched at the top of a Victorian school building, this science and tech lab remodels a previously unused two-storey ‘turret’ and the creation of a small, shiny roof-top extension with external learning terrace and living wall. It feels a bit magical.

Car park turned cultural centre and much more. Credit James Morris
Car park turned cultural centre and much more. Credit James Morris

Ty Pawb cultural centre, Wrexham
Architect: Featherstone Young

TÅ· Pawb (Everybody’s House) is a new model for an arts venue designed by architects Featherstone Young, which relocates Oriel Wrecsam (Wrexham Gallery) and involves the ingenious repurposing of an existing purpose-built 1980s multi-storey car park and market hall.

Built by Reading students with Invisible Studio - now destined for a primary school. Credit Jim Stephenson
Built by Reading students with Invisible Studio - now destined for a primary school. Credit Jim Stephenson

Urban Room, Reading University
Architect: Invisible Studio

The third pavilion that the practice has completed with architecture students at the University of Reading using home-grown timber, it hosted a six week programme of events and debates and will become an outdoor classroom for a local primary school.

Looks brand new but is a very green deep retrofit. Credit TP Bennett
Looks brand new but is a very green deep retrofit. Credit TP Bennett

Windmill Green office retrofit, Manchester
Architect: TP Bennett

A long-vacant 1970s office building has been transformed in a deep retrofit keeping the original concrete frame. It is the first multi-let office building in the city to achieve BREEAM Outstanding.