And the Winner Is... Awards: What Are They Good For?

Thur 2 May 2013 6.30pm

  • The Wadi Hanifa Wetlands - a winner of the 2010 Aga Khan Awards for Architecture. Courtesy AKAA.

In the lead up to the announcement of key 2013 architectural awards - with the Mies van der Rohe Prize for European Architecture, RIBA Awards and the Pritzker all due to be handed out in Spring 2013 - The And The Winner Is..? events series moves on to investigate the purpose and impact of architectural awards, and their effect upon the profession and the built environment.

Coverage of the Stirling Prize may have been dropped from live TV in 2012, following a 10-year run on the airwaves, but new awards keep arriving on the scene; from industrial accolades to international celebrations of new architecture, from self nominated web-platforms to juried conferring of trophies from on high. Awards are growing in number and size, with increasingly diverse parameters, sponsors and objectives. But is this glut of awards reducing the significance of the culture of prize giving? The AF has chosen this moment to critique and explore the culture of award giving, with an invited panel of key award representatives.

Dinner networking extravaganzas, or important platforms for the celebration of architectural quality? Prizes that encourage clients to commission agenda-setting architecture, or cliquey back-slapping exercises? Vital aids for public discussion of the built environment and the visibility of the profession, or cultural camouflage for real-estate endeavours? Ultimately, awards and prizes should recognise and encourage quality in the built environment, but how does and can this best happen?

An international panel of key representatives, critics and practitioners will present their positions, across a condensed evening symposium. 


Farrokh Derakhshani, Director, Aga Khan Award for Architecture
Tony Chapman, Head of Awards, RIBA
Martha Thorne, Executive Director, The Pritzker Architecture Prize
Simon Allford, Director, AHMM
Christine Murray, Editor, Architects' Journal
Sarah Graham, Ambassador, Global Holcim Awards; Founding Partner, agps architects
Glenn Howells, Representative/Juror, BCO (British Council for Offices) Awards; Director, Glenn Howells Architects


Paul Finch, Programme Director of the World Architecture Festival; Deputy Chairman of the UK Design Council; chairman of Design Council Cabe (Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment); and editorial director of the Architectural Review and Architects' Journal

Series Media Partner

The Architectural Review