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Former trapeze artist turned Stirling Prize winning architect launches York Design Awards 2020

Annalie Riches Large news

A Stirling Prize winning architect and former circus trapeze artist will launch the search for York’s best buildings next week.

Annalie Riches is the founding director of London-based Mikhail Riches Architects which won the 2019 Stirling Prize for the Goldsmith Street Norwich Housing development of council-owned energy-efficient homes and one of the largest collections of Passivhaus in the UK. 

She studied architecture at the University of Sheffield, after which she joined the circus on the static trapeze for three months. She will officially launch the 2020 York Design Awards, at a free event attended by more than 150 professionals from the property, architecture, building and development sectors on Thursday 6th February at St Peter’s School. She will deliver a keynote speech titled “What we have learnt about housing”. Members of the public can also register to attend the launch event.

The 14th annual York Design Awards, which are free to enter, seek to celebrate the very best in architecture and building design completed in York in the last three years.  Entries are invited across a wide range of categories including residential development, commercial and public buildings, conservation and restoration projects and open spaces. Previous winners include the Great East Window at York Minster, The Chocolate Works Care Village, Little Knavesmire Sports Pavilion, The Hiscox Building, York Theatre Royal plus numerous privately-owned newbuild and restored residential properties.

The awards are unique in that an independent panel of judges from throughout the UK, spend two days in York visiting every entry, before choosing the winners, who will be announced at an awards evening in June. Closing date for entries is 20th March.

Annalie Riches is recognised for her masterplanning and strategic abilities, as well as her in-depth knowledge of housing. Her projects include Velocity, the winning entry to the 2018 Infrastructure Commission Competition for providing 200,000 new homes between Oxford and Cambridge. She is also leading on Park Hill Phase 2, plus projects for Croydon Council’s company Brick by Brick.

Annalie also built her own house, Whatcotts Yard in 2002, completing all the electrics and plumbing herself. The project subsequently won the 2004 RIBA / AJ first Building award.

Ann Reid is the newly appointed Chair of the York Design Awards committee. She says: “We’re delighted that the York Design Awards are attracting such high-level speakers as Annalie Riches. Our speaker last year was also a Stirling Prize winner, which is the UK’s highest accolade in architecture.

“I’m sure she will inspire the city’s property professionals to continue to enhance the city’s residential and commercial buildings as well as public and open spaces. 

“We hope to see as many projects as possible being entered into the awards which are independently judged by some of the UK’s top architects.”

The awards are funded and supported by a wide range of sponsors including Hiscox, Arup, CG Building and Restoration, City of York Council, Crombie Wilkinson, Fulprint, George F White, Leeds Environmental Design Associates (LEDA), LNER, O’Neill Associates, Ravage Productions, Shepherd Group, St Peter’s School, The Grand Hotel, The Partners Group, The Press, United By Design, University of York, York Architectural Association, York Civic Trust, York Conservation Trust, York Explore, and York Guild of Building.

Application forms and details of how to enter the prestigious awards, which are open to builders, architects, developers and building owners, will be available at www.yorkdesignawards.org after the launch event.

Book your free place for the launch event on 6th February 6pm to 9pm here or email inspire@yorkdesignawards.org 

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