The 2018 York Design Awards closed for entries on 21st March 2018. Judging will take place on 23rd & 24th April.


You can view all the entries at York Explore and cast your vote in The York Press People’s Choice Award from 4th – 10th June.
Winners from all eight categories will be announced at a ceremony on 25th June at the Ron Cooke Hub, the University of York. Contact us today to be added to the invitation list.


York Design Awards celebrate and encourage good design in the city. Good architecture and sensitive building restoration play an important part in what makes York such a special place, routinely topping UK cities’ quality of life surveys.

York Design Awards’ mission is to support that for the future and to encourage designers of new developments in the city to maintain the very highest standards – to create buildings and spaces that ‘delight’.

Founded by former Lord Mayor of York, Janet Hopton, the awards scheme is funded entirely by independent sponsors and donors and is run entirely by unpaid volunteers.

Awards, judged by an independent panel including eminent national and international figures in architecture and design, are presented annually in a range of categories with the scope for more than one award in each category (with the exception of the Lord Mayor’s Award).

Homeowners, building owners, architects, developers, restoration and construction companies are all encouraged to submit schemes for consideration. The judges have praised the inclusiveness of the awards scheme which recognises the role of good design not just in major developments but also in smaller schemes, restorations and extensions and in the public realm.

Alongside the judges’ choices, The Press (York) sponsors “The Press People’s Choice Award” where local residents vote for the scheme which most ‘delights’ them.

Our aim

The York Design Awards aims to recognise the importance of new construction and landscape projects in the city, celebrating ‘the spaces in between’, the setting of buildings plus open space and public realm.

The principal aim of the York Design Awards is to encourage architects, developers, owners, planners, conservationists, to aspire to, achieve, and ensure excellence in new build and in conservation schemes within the City of York Council local authority boundary (completed within the previous three years).   York has a wonderful legacy of architecture from the past but much of what was being built in recent years running up to 2006, as elsewhere, was bland and unremarkable, not a fitting legacy for the 21st Century.

There are excellent architects and craftsmen, with a variety of high quality conservation and other skills, available in the city and, by highlighting their work, the Awards hope to raise aspirations generally.   With several major developments in the pipe line, there is a great opportunity for developers to contribute to York`s future heritage and it is crucial that the city continues to attract the best developers from outside the city – those aspiring to the highest quality of design, bringing design talent and construction expertise with them.

How we judge entries

An essential aspect of the York Design Awards is having a panel of four independent judges from outside the city. Most of our judges serve for three or four years. They have expertise in architecture and conservation and are known and respected for their work regionally, nationally and internationally.

Each year the panel site visits over two days every scheme entered. Reflecting the great wealth of creative development taking place in and around York, this involves assessing more than thirty entries every year. Each is assessed on five criteria:

  • quality of design and build
  • context
  • materials and workmanship
  • sustainability
  • ability to delight

Awards are given to schemes which the judges consider attain an extremely high standard, so there can be more than one Award in a category. This means judges are not restricted to selecting the best scheme in each category – nor indeed any scheme in a category. The exception is with the York Press People’s Award. Here it is the city’s residents who solely get to decide and our judges have no involvement in making the decision.



Andy Davey


Andy Davey is the senior partner at Simpson & Brown Architects, based in Edinburgh, which specialises in the scholarly conservation of historic buildings, the adaptive re-use and remodelling of existing buildings, and the contextual design of new buildings in sensitive historic or landscape settings. The firm aspires to be one of the leading ‘creative conservation’ practices in the UK and works on a wide range of projects at home and abroad.  Andy trained at the Bartlett School of Architecture at University College London and has been responsible for many of Simpson & Brown’s more prestigious commissions, including the recent multi-RIBA Award winning projects for the Centre of Ceramic Art at York Art Gallery and the acclaimed new Visitor Centre at Rievaulx Abbey. He also has a decidedly odd and inexplicable interest in heritage potato varieties.


David Heath


David is chair of The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) and until 2007 was chief conservation architect at English Heritage. He has wide-ranging experience of building repairs and maintenance and of the adaptive reuse of historic buildings. A registered architect since 1975, David trained at Cambridge University School of Architecture and has taught, lectured and written on conservation topics. He has had a long involvement with the Architectural Association (AA) Post-Graduate Course in The Conservation of Historic Buildings, where since 2007 he has been the thesis tutor.


Nicky Rutt


Nicky Rutt, who was a finalist in the prestigious AJ Woman Architect of the Year Awards two years ago, is an architect in one of the country’s leading practices, Hawkins\Brown. She is currently working on a £100m project called Here East which is transforming the former London 2012 Olympics’ media centre into a 1.2 million square foot ‘digital campus’ for start-ups, students and leading tech businesses. Nicky is also a Trustee of the Twentieth Century Society, which helps to safeguard the heritage of architecture and design in Britain from 1914 onwards.


Geoff Rich

BA(Hons) BArch(Hons) AABC RIBA

Geoff is a managing partner at Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and takes a leading role in creative re-use and regeneration projects. He has a keen interest in design and conservation issues, and is an AABC-accredited conservation architect. He was team leader on his firm’s award-winning Clore Learning Centre at Hampton Court Palace, and is currently working on the oldest surviving iron-framed buildings in the world at Ditherington Flax Mill near Shrewsbury. Other major schemes include Bath Abbey and Windsor Castle. Geoff is a long-standing member of CABE's South West Design Review Panel and lectures at several universities.

Committee members

Peter Brown MBE

Conservationist Peter Brown MBE is a former director of the York Civic Trust, where amongst other things, he was responsible for the running of Fairfax House, a restored Georgian house and museum that provides insights into life during that historic period. He previously worked for the National Trust as an administrator for Nunnington Hall a beautiful manor house in North Yorkshire.

Dr David Fraser FSA

Dr David Fraser FSA has been Chief Executive of York Civic Trust since 2015, and was the successor to Peter Brown.  A geographer and archaeologist by training, David worked for English Heritage for over 20 years, as Inspector of Ancient Monuments, Conservation Team Leader, and latterly Regional Director for Yorkshire and the Humber from 1996 to 2005.  His later career took him to the Government Office for Yorkshire and the Humber as Director of Environment and to the Landmark Trust as Head of the Historic Estate, before joining York Civic Trust.

Monica Green

Monica Green is Co-owner and Director of York PR and marketing communications agency The Partners Group, which specialises in the property and construction sector. Monica is a member of the Women in Property Yorkshire & NE committee and also supports employee-volunteering charity York Cares. She has worked with many major housebuilders, property developers, construction companies and building product manufacturers to raise their profile, manage their reputation and grow their businesses. Monica has a degree in English Language and Literature and a postgraduate diploma in Public Relations.

Guy Hanson

Architect Guy Hanson is Design and Sustainability Manager at City of York Council. He manages the "Design, Conservation & Sustainable Development" team providing specialist advice to the council, developers and the public in areas of architecture, urbanism, building conservation, archaeology, landscape design, sustainability, ecology and countryside management. He has held other roles at the council designing and project managing the delivery of capital works public realm and regeneration projects funded by the council, such as a £1.6m refurbishment and new business plan for Newgate Market.

Elizabeth Heaps

After working at the University of York for 37 years, Elizabeth Heaps retired in 2013.  Her final post from 2007-2013 was as Pro Vice Chancellor for Estates and Strategic Projects, where she was responsible for the £750 million Heslington East campus expansion. She also oversaw development projects worth some £100m on the original Heslington West campus. Elizabeth was a member of the RIBA Higher Education Design Quality Forum and a contributor to conferences in the area of planning and strategic development of estates.   She was also a Lay Assessor for the RIBA awards 2013. A qualified librarian, she is a member of the Company of Merchant Adventurers of the City of York, and on the Board of the York Archaeological Trust.

Janet Hopton MBE

Former Lord Mayor of York and Councillor for City of York, Janet Hopton MBE founded the York Design Awards in 2006. Janet was previously a member of the York Civic Trust and today remains an active member of the Nether Poppleton Millennium Green Trust.

Charlotte Harrison

Architect Charlotte Harrison graduated from the Bartlett in 1999. Charlotte co-organised an international festival of architecture in Leeds before joining Allford Hall Monaghan Morris Architects, where she ran projects for Shelter and the Barbican Arts Centre. Together with Glen McGowan she formed mass architecture in 2004 in London and moved to York in 2009. Charlotte has been a design tutor and lecturer in 20th Century Theory of Architecture at Universities in London, Leeds and Sheffield. She currently sits on the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Design Review Panel and the Regional RIBA Council. Charlotte has been a Royal Academy exhibitor in the Architectural Drawing category, as well as winning Awards in York and London. Charlotte is a Freeman of the City of York and London.

Alan Markham

Alan Markham is a Communications & Publishing Consultant. He has worked with leading PR agencies in Yorkshire and Derbyshire, plus working in-house with a major printing group. Over two decades his experience includes working with B2B clients in a variety of sectors including: construction, doors and windows, maintenance and engineering, environmental management, and green building technologies.

Lucy Morris

Architect Lucy Morris joined William Saunders in 2013, having previously worked at Native for almost eight years. She has undertaken voluntary projects in Kenya and the USA providing disaster and humanitarian relief supporting social, environmental and housing needs. She is Co-Chair of the York Architectural Association (RIBA)

Tracey Smith

Tracey Smith is CEO of York Science Park. She is pro-actively engaged in a wide range of business networks and philanthropy across the region and nationally, promoting York as a leading city of business and economic growth. She is a member of the Company of Merchant Adventurers of the City of York, a founding member of the Guild of Media Arts, a director of York Professionals and a committee member of the Institute of Directors, North Yorkshire.

Peter Vaughan

Peter Vaughan is Chair of Wigginton Parish Council. Previously he was a Huntington Parish Councillor (1991 to 2007), North Yorkshire County Councillor (1993 to 1997), City of York Councillor (1995 to 2003), Lord Mayor of York (1999-2000) and a Deputy Lieutenant of North Yorkshire from 2004. Before he retired he worked in the pharmaceutical industry, merchant banking and naval shipbuilding.

David Warburton

David Warburton is Guildhall and Riverside Project Manager at City of York Council, where he is responsible for the delivery of this exciting project to transform York's historic Guildhall into a world class Media Arts Centre. He was previously head of Design Conservation and Sustainable Development at City of York council and prior to that worked at Durham County Council as Design and Conservation Section Manager.

Richard Watson

Richard Watson is a Solicitor and Director of Crombie Wilkinson Solicitors LLP with which he has been associated for 40 years. His specialisms include Charity Law, Charitable Trusts and Housing Law. He served as a Councillor for 21 years and chaired the City of York Council Main Planning Committee from 2003 – 2011 during which time he was concerned with the planning of the University of York’s Campus East, CYC’s West Offices and the early stages of both Hungate and the Terrys Redevelopment. He served as Sheriff in 2010 – 2011 and was appointed Honorary Alderman in 2011. During 2018/19, he will take office as the President of the Yorkshire Law Society and will serve as Under Sheriff.

Bill Woolley

Planning and development consultant Bill Woolley retired as City of York Council’s deputy chief executive and director of city and environmental services in 2012 having worked on a range of major projects in the city including the Millennium Bridge, Foss Islands Shopping centre, the Hungate regeneration and the restoration of West Offices in Station Rise.


The first York Design Awards evening was held in 2007 at the Mansion House, moving to the Merchant Adventurers Hall in 2008. Subsequently the venue for the annual Awards Evening has been an award winning building from the previous year – York College, University of York`s Berrick Saul Building, York St. John`s De Grey Building, Yorkshire Museum, University of York`s Film, Theatre & Television Building, and for 2014, Nestle Product Technology Centre.

This has been an attractive and fascinating aspect of the awards and the generosity of the various organisations involved in allowing us to use these special buildings as venues for the Awards Evenings has always been greatly appreciated.

From the start, the organising committee has included both representatives from relevant organisations across the city and interested individuals. Representation on the committee currently includes City of York Council, York Guild of Building, York Civic Trust, York Professionals, York Archaeological Trust, York Architectural Association and York Consortium of Craftsmen & Conservationists.

Educational outreach

A display of entries has been a feature of the Awards Evening reception and, in 2008, we worked with four students and their tutor from York St. John University who created the display as part of their design coursework, a rewarding experience on both sides.

Another educational opportunity arose in 2013, this time with York College, and has continued. A class of Building Construction students assessed the entries as a paper exercise, using the same criteria as our judges, to decide which they thought was best in each category.

Mindful of its core purpose, the York Design Awards also engages in the city with other relevant activities and initiatives: the University of York Festival of Ideas, and the RIBA ‘Love Architecture’ Festival in York 2012.


Sponsorship has been crucial to the continuation of the awards. Our intention has always been to keep the awards accessible to everyone – this means:

  • no entry fee
  • a free launch event in early February with a renowned architect as speaker
  • no-charge for the Awards Evening in the summer, with invitations to all the architects and developers/owners who entered, planning officers and Council Members, sponsors, special guests

Grateful acknowledgement is, therefore, due to all our sponsors without which we simply could not make the York Design Awards the success they are today.

Read more about our current sponsors

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