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Fiona Mckay

The annual Excellence in Design Awards programme kicked off at the start of February of this year, with the Call for Entries going out to practices in the UK and abroad. The three categories for the awards were: Professional, Young Architect & Unbuilt. For the Professional & Young Architect submissions, construction of the projects had to have been completed between 01 January 2014 and 31 December 2018.

For the Professional category, entries were sought from architects, industrial designers, urban planners, landscape architects, and interior designers for projects whose construction has been completed. For the Young Architect category, entries were sought from young, emerging practices with design principals under 40 years of age, for projects whose construction has been completed. Lastly, for the Unbuilt category, entries were sought from professionals, recent graduates and current students based in the United Kingdom and around the world, for projects which were as of yet unbuilt or were speculative in nature.

 This year we were honoured to have the following jurors from practice, the press and academia:

  • Sir David Adjaye, OBE - Principal & Founder of Adjaye Associates

  • Adam Nathaniel Furman - Artist, Designer & Writer, Teaching at Central St. Martins & runs the Saturated Space Research Group at the Architectural Association

  • Prof. Lilly Kudic - Head of Architecture, London South Bank University

  • Dr. Mark Breeze - Director of Architecture, St.John's College, Cambridge

  • Ellie Stathaki - Architecture Editor at Wallpaper*

  • Amrita Raja - 2019 President, The American Institute of Architects UK Chapter

After the 29 March submission deadline, the jury met on the 5th April for a day of lively review and challenging deliberation of all the entries. A shortlist was then selected, and after further debate, commendations & winners of the Young Architect & Professional Awards were selected. All shortlisted practices were notified, and invitations for the Excellence in Design Awards Gala were sent out.

The gala was held on 30 April, at The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) in Regent’s Park. Over 100 architects, their clients and guests, joined chapter members to honour practices receiving awards this year.

The Winners were:

  • The Young Architect Award: David Leech Architects, for ‘A House in a Garden’, Dublin, Ireland. The jury summed this project as a lovely sequence of spaces, beautiful materiality, surfaces and textures on the surfaces.

  • The Professional Award: David Chipperfield Architects, for ‘Amorepacific Headquarters’, Seoul, South Korea. The jury felt this project was porous but with a metropolitan scale, had an intimate and thoughtful experience, and though it was a very large building, the layers of materiality provide a human scale. They felt that light was brought into the spaces beautifully, it contained a very good mix of amenities, and had a visceral excitement, which is not common for an office building.


The Professional Commendations went to:

o   4 Pancras Square, by Eric Parry Architects.

o   House in a Garden, by Gianni Botsford Architects.

o   The Conservation of the Painted Hall, by Hugh Broughton Architects.


Unfortunately, the jury was not satisfied with any of the Unbuilt submissions, and therefore there was no award for that category this year. The jury proposed some changes to the unbuilt category requirements, one of which was to engage more students. Please refer to our website for the entire shortlist, images and additional photos of the gala.

At the Awards Gala, our out-going AIA UK Chapter Executive Fiona McKay, and long-serving board member, past president & current secretary of the AIA UK Lorraine D. King, received Certificates of Appreciation. On behalf of the Board I would like to thank them once again for their immeasurable service and contribution to the success of our chapter.

The gala night also included two guided tours of the Grade -I listed RCP building designed by Sir Denys Lasdun. Members who attended these enlightening tours were able to receive one continuing education credit.

On behalf of the AIA UK Board, I would like to thank all the practices that submitted projects to our Design Awards, and congratulate the shortlisted, commended and the winning projects. I would also like to extend our gratitude to our jurors who tirelessly volunteered their time throughout this process. We are most grateful for your contributions to this signature event of ours.

Many thanks to all who attended, and we look forward to seeing you all at next year’s Awards Gala.


Written by: Christopher Musangi, AIA

Photos: Julian Vasquez


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