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​RIBA ​Awards information and entry guidelines​

Why enter the RIBA Awards

For over 50 years the RIBA awards and prizes have championed and celebrated the best architecture in the UK and around the world, no matter the form; size or budget. Successful projects reflect changes and innovations in architecture, but at their core display a commitment to designing and developing buildings and spaces for the improvement and enhancement of people’s lives.

  • RIBA Awards are regarded by both the public and profession as the most valued architecture awards with an unrivalled approach to the judging and promotion of good architecture
  • RIBA Awards and prizes are the most rigorously judged awards for architectural excellence and are based on the judgement of peers as a result of building visits
  • all award-winning projects will have been visited by at least one expert jury
  • all RIBA awards are judged by award-winning architects and relevant lay assessors
  • award winners will have PR support from the RIBA and the chance to be featured in online, print and filmed content by our prestigious media partners. Please note, there are filming requirements for any projects that make the House of the Year Longlist
  • award-winning projects are featured on architecture.com which has a growing annual visit rate of over 2.5 million globally
  • RIBA Awards are highlighted and amplified on all of our social media channels with a global reach of over 300,000 followers
  • award winners will receive both hard-copy and digital RIBA Awards marketing assets

If you are considering entering the 2020 RIBA Awards, please read the entry criteria below to make sure you are eligible and have the required documents to complete your entry. You can also plan ahead and check the schedule for the RIBA Awards.

Deadlines

Entries to the RIBA UK Awards 2020 will close on 20 February 2020.

For all key dates see the RIBA Awards timetable.

Who can enter

UK Awards - from December 2019

To create an account for the RIBA Awards for projects in the UK, you must have a current individual RIBA Chartered Membership number or RIBA International Fellowship. The lead architect of the scheme must be a current RIBA Chartered Member - learn how to join the RIBA here. Please note, you must have applied for membership before 16 February 2020 to be eligible for this year's RIBA Awards.

To enter a building in the UK (excluding Scotland - see below) for the RIBA Awards, the project director must:

  • be a current RIBA, RSAW, RIAS, RSUA Chartered member or RIBA International Fellow
  • have completed the building, which must have been occupied (partially-occupied commercial and housing projects subject to RIBA approval) between November 2017 and February 2020
  • have the client's permission to submit the building

Buildings in Scotland

To enter projects in Scotland, please see the RIAS Awards. Entries which have been unsuccessful at RIAS shortlisting stage in the preceding year can be re-submitted and will be considered for both RIAS and RIBA (National) Awards provided that:

  • the scheme still falls within the two year eligibility period - it was completed and occupied between November 2017 and February 2020
  • the full entry fee for RIAS Awards is paid

The scheme will be judged by different judges, and will include a RIBA Representative and one RIAS judge.

RIBA, RSAW, RIAS, RSUA members and RIBA International Fellows can enter projects into both the UK and International Awards. If you are thinking about entering buildings in the UK but are not a member, please see more information on becoming a member.

How to enter

UK Awards 2020: To enter you must create a user account and submit your project to the RIBA Awards online portal.

Please note - your RIBA Awards account username and password are not the same as your RIBA Membership details.

To create your awards account you will need the following:

  • an email address - this contact should be the individual co-ordinating your awards entries
  • an individual Chartered RIBA, RSAW, RIAS, RSUA or RIBA International Fellowship member number. The membership number should be up to 8 digits long and contain numbers only e.g. 12345678

Once you have started your online entry you may work on your submission(s) up until 23.59 on the day of the deadline.

All of the following information will need to be provided in order to complete your awards submission:

Project information

  • project name
  • project address (including county for UK projects) and postcode if applicable
  • gross internal area in sq m, in the case of largely landscape/ urban design projects gross external area in sq m
  • contract value / building cost of the project including build and fit-out if done/overseen by the architect (excluding land costs and fees)
  • contract type (for UK projects) and occupation date of the project

Contact details

  • architect practice / studio name
  • architect practice / studio address
  • contact details for project director/architect, client and contractor
  • contact for jury visits if different from project director/architect
  • press contact if external to the practice entering
  • photographer details

If you worked in collaboration with another practice or architect, you must all be in agreement on the entry and how the building should be credited.

Project description

500 words describing the project, setting out:

  • the client’s brief
  • planning constraints
  • materials and method of construction
  • summary of timetable
  • programme and budget constraints
  • a short statement on how the building contributes to its society and meets the principles of inclusive design, where applicable

This project description will be used in jury meetings and to influence editorial coverage, so please ensure this fully covers your entry.

Key consultants

Please include:

  • a list of all key consultants to be credited, e.g. structural engineer, services engineer, landscape architect(s) etc, with contact details

These consultants will be credited on all of our online content, press releases and awards certificates, so please ensure they are listed correctly.

Images

Entrants are required to submit the following:

  • a minimum of five and up to ten JPEG images, with a minimum width and/or height of 1000 px (max file size is 10MB)

They must also:

  • select five of these images to be used for press purposes - we recommend press images to be at least 2000 pixels in height or width and 300dpi
  • include a mixture of external and internal shots of the project
  • upload each image as single image files, not composite boards - an exception to this rule would be to place the before and after images of a refurb project side by side and upload as one file
  • convey the way in which the project relates to its context, as these images are used for judging purposes
  • include both wide shots and close-ups, and show the building in use, if possible
  • not include company logos or text on any images
  • include the photographer name and contact for each image uploaded

Drawings

Entrants must also upload:

  • a minimum of one and a maximum of six drawing files as JPEG format only (max file size is 2MB)

This should include:

  • a location plan (showing the project in context, eg 1:1250)
  • a site plan
  • a ground floor plan (showing main access)
  • a typical floor plan
  • two sections

You may upload up to six separate files. These can be configured as one to two drawings per page, if necessary. Please bear in mind the jury will be reading the drawings on A4 paper and on screen, so landscape orientation is preferred if possible.

Photographers

Entrants will need to include:

  • the name and contact details of photographer(s)

Please bear in mind:

  • RIBA will only use the photographs or other media submitted for the purposes of the RIBA Awards
  • RIBA will require confirmation that the relevant copyright owner of the photograph or other media submitted has licensed the right to use the photograph or other media of your scheme for all purposes related to the RIBA Awards (in print, social and digital media). This might include publicising an exhibition (of winning entries), a lecture series (featuring the winning architects), or promoting the award itself.
  • photographers will always be credited on their images, so supplying us with the correct information on each photograph is essential

Sustainability

  • RIBA is committed to meeting the challenges of climate change, resource depletion, pollution, biodiversity decline and to raising our collective understanding of the measures that must be taken to integrate sustainable solutions within the management and curation of our built environment. 
  • RIBA Awards are evolving. Over the next few years the awards criteria will be aligned to support the 2030 Climate Challenge and the measures articulated within the Challenge will increasingly be used to define the standards expected of RIBA Award winning projects.
  • For 2020, all projects are expected to meet statutory targets in achieving sustainable outcomes and measure and verify how they perform. We will ask for different levels of information depending on the contract value of your project. The information is helpful to the RIBA in understanding current practice and informing how the profession might collectively meet the challenge of climate change.
  • Entrants must provide as much as they possibly can concerning: annual energy figures (if the project has not been occupied for one year please provide projected figures); the building’s performance in use with particular reference to energy use, and energy performance figures and statistics.
  • If it is not possible for your project to produce quantifiable data either because of its size, or because it does not provide climatic enclosure, you must confirm this on the online entry form and explain the reasons in your statement.
  • We provide a template for you to download and send to any external sustainability consultants to fill in and send back to you. All figures must then be completed in the online entry.

UN Global Compact

  • RIBA supports the universal principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption that form the UN Global Compact
  • as a signatory, the RIBA is committed to upholding and promoting the highest standards of ethics in architecture and the wider construction industry
  • RIBA reserves the right to request further information about the ways in which the scheme complies with the principles of the UN Global Compact and will take this into account when determining awards

Payment

  • online entry must be paid by credit card or debit card and in GBP sterling - we cannot issue invoices
  • the entry fee is dependent on the contract value of the building entered, which are applicable to all entrants (see payment bands below)
  • payments must be made separately for each entry submitted, i.e. they cannot be grouped together for multiple entries and you must pay the full amount, including UK VAT
  • payments must be made online using a valid credit or debit card at the end of the entry process
  • you cannot alter your entry once payment has been made

Use of information

Data, including images, plans, drawings, technical and budget information and narrative text submitted in support of all RIBA Awards entries will be used by the RIBA and Judges acting on its behalf for the purposes of assessing Awards entries in the current year of judging. Any information relating to budget, personal details, such as company names or client names, addresses that the individual or agent preparing the application wishes to remain confidential during and subsequent to the Judging process has the facility (through the online entry system) to mark this information as confidential during the application process. Information marked as Confidential will not be shared for publicity or any form of public dissemination. Information not marked as Confidential will be assumed to be suitable for public dissemination. For the avoidance of doubt, information marked confidential will be shared with Awards Juries acting on the behalf of the RIBA for the purposes of evaluating and assessing Awards entries. Juries will be made aware of their obligation to treat the information as Confidential beyond the immediate purposes of assessing Awards entries. The visual data (images, plans, drawings) will also be used by RIBA for the promotion of the Awards.

Data will be held by the RIBA in perpetuity for the purposes of maintaining a record of the entries and for the RIBA archive. This information will not be shared with any third party without the express and prior consent of the author, their clients or agents acting on their behalf.

Entry fees

The entry fee is dependent on the contract value of the project. Entries completed and paid for before 23.59 on 6 February 2020 will be eligible for the early bird discount.

Contract value Fee before 23.59 on 6 February 2020 Fee from 7 February 2020
Under £500k £85.50 £95
£500k - £2m £189 £210
£2m - £5m £337.50 £375
£5m - £10m £490.50 £545
£10m - £20m £562.50 £625
Over £20m £639 £710

All fees are shown in GBP sterling excluding VAT. UK VAT will be charged for all entries.

Judging criteria and process

Judges will be asked to assess projects on the following criteria.

Architectural integrity

The project must:

  • be capable of stimulating, engaging and delighting its occupants, visitors and passers by
  • have a design vision that's reflected in all aspects of the design
  • have a robust design that has potential for flexibility in the future
  • be environmentally and economically sustainable
  • provide social value
  • demonstrate innovation, invention and originality
  • select materials considering the environmental impact
  • have an appropriate scale
  • be detailed with rigour
  • consider size and space, in terms of the spatial experience it offers
  • demonstrate architectural and conceptual ambition
  • have a completed sustainability statement, including a response to the target metrics set out in the RIBA 2030 Challenge

Usability and context

The project must:

  • make a significant contribution to its immediate environment
  • respond to the issues of accessibility and other social factors
  • have suitable structural and servicing systems
  • contribute generously to the public realm or environment

Delivery and execution

The project will be judged on:

  • the complexity of brief and degree of difficulty; its architectural ambition and ideas
  • whether it's fit for purpose, especially in response to the client's brief as reflected in the level of client satisfaction
  • its timetable - the project should not have gone over time without good cause
  • the type of contract, for example: traditional, design and build etc
  • value for money and budget

Judging process

RIBA Awards and prizes are the most rigorously judged awards for architectural excellence. No award or prize is given unless the project has been visited by at least one jury. All RIBA awards are judged by award-winning architects and relevant lay assessors. RIBA juries assess design excellence irrespective of style, size or complexity, taking into account constraints of budget, brief and timetable while being sensitive to the economic and social contexts of each project.

Before any visits are made, every judge will read and digest the criteria and study all the submitted materials. They will then visit an agreed list of projects, looking in detail at all aspects, interior and exterior; listen to the story that both architect and client have to tell, and ask them about the process and its results.

After discussion with fellow judges, they will arrive at their provisional decisions. Once all visits have concluded, the jury will meet for a final time to decide the awards.

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