York Design Awards 2020 will not go ahead due to the escalating uncertainty surrounding the impact of COVID-19. You can find out more about the cancellation here.
The Awards cover a wide range of categories including large and small residential development, commercial and public buildings, conservation and restoration projects and open spaces and are open to all projects completed in the last three years.


The 2019 York Design Awards winners can be seen here.


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2018 Winners

Previous Winners Archive 2017

Alpha Cottage

Small Residential category

Owner/Client: Mark & Bridget Payton
Architect: Tim Hatton, Carve Architecture, York
Builder: Tom Rhodes and Sons

Alpha Cottage is a mid-sized Victorian terrace house – now greatly enhanced by a full-width back extension providing a generous family room – incorporating kitchen, dining room and living area.   The building is very modest and simple, unobtrusive but remarkably characterful.  The roof spans between the party walls leaving a top-lit slot against the original back wall of the house with its handsome door-case. The simple palette of materials – plaster, polished concrete, second hand bricks and timber and zinc roofing – is beautifully detailed inside and out.  This has clearly been a hugely successful collaboration between client and architect, and provides an excellent model for contemporary extensions to traditional houses of this sort.

Derwenthorpe Phase 2

Large Residential

Developer: Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust
Architect: Adam Cornish, Studio Partington, London
Structural Engineer: Alan Wood and Partners
Services Engineer: Arup
Landscape Architect: Fira
Project Manager: MDA
Post completion testing: Leeds Beckett
Builder: David Wilson Homes

This is a further instalment of the notably successful new residential neighbourhood promoted by the Rowntree Housing Trust. The overall plan draws on the theories of the New Urbanism that evolved in the 1980’s that sought to combine the texture of traditional towns with the requirements of contemporary life – in particular car usage.   The result involves the close integration of a broad range of house types, large and small, private and rented – set out in a way that provides parking without it dominating the street or threatening pedestrians.  The buildings use traditional material in a contemporary manner.  The detailing is of the highest quality and the interiors are both practical and delightful.   And these standards are maintained throughout the development.

There was considerable opposition to the project in the early days.  But now that the buildings are finished and occupied, the new neighbourhood is generally recognized as a very fine example of what can be achieved by a combination of thoughtful planning and meticulous design

Chocolate Works – new build Phase 1

Large Residential & Lord Mayor’s Award

Developer/builder: David Wilson Homes Yorkshire East
Architect: Adam Cornish, Studio Partington, London

This is the first phase of an estate of 300 new homes on part of the former Terry’s Chocolate Factory site.  The layout is essentially urban in character, relatively dense and arranged around a formal street pattern reminiscent of the elegance and simplicity of the squares and avenues of Georgian London – but entirely contemporary in character.   There are no less than 7 different types of home – from studio apartments to 5 bedroom houses – all integrated into a regular architectural whole.  The arrangement of landscaping, streets and parking courts is devised to calm moving traffic and ensure that parked cars do not dominate the site.

This is an altogether original design, intelligently laid-out, beautifully detailed and meticulously built.  The developers, designers and builders are to congratulated on a remarkable achievement.

The Rattle Owl

Commercial/ Community/Public: Small

Owner/Designer/Project Manager/Builder: Clarrie O’Callaghan

The story of the Rattle-Owl is a veritable saga of unexpected complications. The project grew from the restoration and fitting out as a restaurant of a 17th C building (listed Grade II*) with all the complications of an Historic Building – into an important archaeological dig and a structural nightmare.  As the work proceeded it became clear that the original cellars had been filled in without any provision to support the ground floor.  When the cellars were dug out to provide a suitable footing, the foundations of a Roman house were found – which had to be surveyed by the University of York Archaeology Dept. and remain preserved under the newly structured ground floor.   There were further complications to providing means of escape from the upper floors – which were resolved by the separation of the entrances and the ingenious provision of a separate tiny food and wine shop – probably one of the smallest in York.

Throughout all this, the owner, who undertook all the design and management herself, succeeded in maintaining her objectives and keeping her sense of fun.  She has brought together a highly individual array of fittings, furniture and design ideas – that, with the stylish restoration of the building, make a delightful and successful restaurant.

Little Knavesmire Sports Pavilion

Commercial/ Community/Public/Education: Large

Client: City of York Council
Architect: Philp Rickinson, PRA Architects
Builder: Transcore Ltd

The Hamilton Panthers Football Club previously occupied an historic but dilapidated air-observation building from World War II.  Its replacement provides all the basic requirements for football club at this modest local level – but includes a canteen/cafe which is also open to the general public and other groups such as the York Schools Cross Country Runners, the York Carers and the NHS – so the building has an important general role in locality.  The building is made with simple materials inside and out.  The interior is enlivened with the club colours yellow and blue. 

The building occupies a very conspicuous site at the edge of the open green space along the Tadcaster Road into the City.  By giving the roof a simple sculptural form, the designers have managed to make this essentially utilitarian building into an eye-catching building that relates very effectively to the landscape.

York Theatre Royal

Commercial/Community/Public/Education: Large & Conservation & The Press People’s Award

Client: York Citizens’ Theatres Trust & York Conservation Trust
Architect: Angus Morrogh-Ryan of De Matos Ryan
Conservation Architect: Ian Smith, W.R. Dunn & Co.
Builder: William Birch & Son
Theatre & Acoustic Consultants: Charcoalblue LLP
Structural Engineers:  Price & Myers LLP
Services Engineers: P3r LLP
Cost Consultants: Aecom LLP
Access Consultants: David Bonnett Associates
Heritage Consultant: James Edgar

This hugely complicated project has involved the restoration, reordering and refurbishment of all parts of the theatre.  The stalls seating has been reformed and the street arcade glazed in, creating a large foyer with a more welcoming ticket desk; Patrick Gwynne’s remarkable 1960’s side extension has been comprehensively overhauled with an entirely new block of services and lifts at the back; the under-stage has been excavated to provide a greatly improved accommodation for musicians, actors and stage staff – and revealing a mediaeval well that called for the detailed attention of archaeologists; the Victorian Gothic stonework (some of it now revealed inside the ladies loos) has been cleaned and restored; thirty different roofs have been repaired or renewed.

The result of all this work is remarkable for the way it links all the disparate parts of the theatre, improves its workings significantly and makes for a very lively and inviting theatrical experience.

Bishopsbarn, St George’s Place, York


Client: Paul Swann
Builder: Croft Farm Construction
Architect: Peter Roberts, LHL Group Ltd

Bishopsbarn is the family home built in 1905 of the distinguished Edwardian architect Walter Brierly whose many distinguished buildings are an important part of York’s architectural heritage.  The house is a perfect object lesson in the principles and pleasures of the Arts and Crafts movement – with its comfortable homely atmosphere enhanced by beautiful design not only of the building itself but also in the fittings and furniture – and the Gertrude Jekyll garden.  After a couple of generations of relative decline, this ideal has been meticulously restored, the fabric repaired, the exquisite joinery and metalwork refurbished, re-polished and redecorated to a museum quality – including the acquisition of suitable furniture, fabrics and wallpapers.

It is a truly remarkable achievement and represents a notably positive collaboration between a generous client, a wonderful team of professionals and craftsmen, and the Historic Buildings Officials  – all of whom deserve warm congratulation for their various contributions

Special Award: York Civic Trust

The Rigg Monument Conservation and Restoration

Client:  The Parochial Church Council of the Church of St Lawrence
Promoted & managed by:  York Civic Trust
Architect:   PPIY
Builder: I M Thornton, York

The Rigg Monument is a very handsome tomb erected by public subscription to commemorate a tragic boating accident in 1830 in which 6 Rigg children lost their lives.   Both the ironwork and the stonework had deteriorated over almost 2 centuries.   The Church Wardens with the help of the Civic Trust undertook a wholesale restoration including the rebuilding and repointing of the brickwork, the cleaning and resetting of stonework, the re-cutting of the charming elegiac inscription on a new piece of marble – and the restoration of the missing ironwork. 

Gates formerly to Archbishop Holgate’s School playing fields

Owner: York Teaching Hospital, National Health Service
Promoted & managed by: York Civic Trust
Builder: I M Thornton, York

This handsome pair of gates is another example of fine Victorian craftsmanship, that without the efforts of the York Teaching Hospital on whose land they stand and the York Civic Trust, might by now have completely disappeared.   In fact they have been completely restored – which has involved not only the cleaning and restoration of the ironwork, but also the complete renewal of the foundations. There remains an unsolved mystery – why do the stanchions on either side differ in detail, the left hand with scrolls that match the gates, the right with square Greek pattern decoration.

All Saints Pavement – Churchyard restoration

Client:/Designer All Saints Pavement Parochial Church Council
Promoted & managed by York Civic Trust
Builder: Stoneplan Landscape Construction Ltd

This corner of the Churchyard of All Saints Pavement was walled off from the footway and had been sadly neglected.  The Parochial Church Council, the City of York Council and the York Civic Trust worked together to open the area to public access with benches, paving and planting.  It is a simple but effective scheme that now provides an attractive pocket-park in the heart of the City.

The John Snow Memorial

Client: York Medical Society and University of York,
Promoted & managed by York Civic Trust
Designer: John Ives, PPIY Architects
Builder: Ian M Thornton, York

The John Snow Memorial is another extraordinary story.  It was John Snow originally from York who demonstrated that cholera is caused by contaminated drinking water – by removing the handle from a pump in Broad St, Soho in 1854 – and ending an epidemic.  He was also an important pioneer anaesthetist.  The memorial in North St Garden celebrates his life with this witty reminder of his work.  It is yet another modest but delightful civic project promoted and managed by the York Civic Trust.

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