The 2023 York Design Awards ceremony took place on 3rd July 2023 and you can see all the winners here.

The Awards are free to enter due to the support of our kind sponsors.  The awards celebrate properties in a wide range of categories including single and multiple dwelling residential developments, community and commercial buildings, and open space/public realm/landscape.

The 2024 awards programme will launch in February 2024.

If you would like to keep up to date about the York Design Awards, please sign up to our e-newsletter


Categories help group entries that have some similarities. This helps both judges and the public to understand the type of schemes they are.

Entries within each category do not compete against each other. An award is given if an entry meets the criteria of the awards, and so several or no awards can be given to each category. Therefore, to receive an award can be perceived as achieving a high design standard, as viewed by the judges.

Applicants are asked to suggest a category their scheme fits and then the judging panel will make a final allocation.

In addition to this, entries are also eligible for three special awards irrespective of the category they are considered under. There is one award made for each of these. The Lord Mayor’s Award is for an exceptional design. The Sustainability Award is for an exceptional application of sustainable principles. The panel of judges considers both of these. Finally, the People’s Choice Award is made by a public vote organised by the York Press. Entries opt in to this public vote.

Judging Criteria:

The following criteria are used when assessing schemes:

  • Quality of Design
  • Context
  • Materials & Workmanship
  • Sustainability
  • Ability to Delight

As part of the application submission, it is useful for applicants to take each of the criteria in turn to explain how their entries achieve the required award standard.


  • Small (less than £500k)
These could include things like minor commercial refurbishments or new builds such as small shops
  • Large (more than £500k)
These could include things like new offices and hotels or major refurbishments and extensions


  • Small (less than £500k)
These could include things like minor refurbishments or extensions to schools and churches.
  • Large (more than £500k)
These could include things like new schools and university buildings.


• Small (less than £500k) These are typically new houses, house extensions or refurbishments
• Large (more than £500k) These are typically larger houses or housing developments

Conservation and/or restoration

This focuses on alterations where the main objective is to conserve or restore something to be faithful to how it was, rather than build something new. Whilst this can often mean creative interpretation, if the project focus is the remodelling or extension of an older, or even listed, building to create something different it will normally be considered in other categories.

Open space

This category includes both private or public works in open spaces, encompassing virtually any outdoor project. The range of projects considered in this category is wide and varied, large or small, and could include:

  • New landscaped gardens
  • Schemes to renew or create new parks and play spaces
  • Hard landscaped public realm improvements

The Press People’s Choice Award

The Press People’s Choice Award is unique in being the only category that is voted for by the people of York and, therefore, it is not available for entries.

This award gives local people the chance to tell us what they like about local developments; and it also raises awareness of the importance to the city of good architecture in new build and conservation projects.

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