Civic Voice Design Awards


The Civic Voice Design Awards are the people’s choice for architecture and the built environment. Unique in England, the awards are a national celebration of well-designed new build, heritage and public realm projects nominated by local community organisations. What makes the awards different from other industry awards is that they recognise those buildings, places and spaces that are loved by local people, for both their high quality design and positive impact on the local community.

“The Civic Voice Design Awards are a wonderful opportunity for local communities up and down the country to nominate local buildings and designers for recognition. These awards show that people are willing to welcome the new developments we need when they have been properly consulted and involved and where the quality of design has been of the highest standard.“ Griff Rhys Jones, President of Civic Voice.

“I’m thrilled to be chairing the Civic Voice Design Awards once again. It is great to hear the community stories behind the nominated projects and to see architecture and urban design having a tangible positive impact on the lives of people throughout the country. The judges look forward to reading the submissions.” Max Farrell (Chair of Judging Panel).


About the Civic Voice Design Awards

Civic Voice invites communities across England to nominate examples of well-designed new build, heritage and public realm projects in their area. The people’s choice for architecture and the built environment, the Civic Voice Design Awards celebrate schemes that are nominated by the people who live alongside, use and are affected by these projects, and who have a real understanding of their impact on their local area.

What make the Civic Voice Design Awards special is that they are not the usual industry awards where professionals give awards to other professionals. Nominated and supported by local people, the awards recognise places that are loved by local people for both their high quality design and positive contribution to the local area.

Since its first year in 2015, the Civic Voice Design Awards has attracted around 100 applications. Previous winners have included: Gloucester Services (Northbound) – Overall Winner 2015; Alder Hey Hospital, Liverpool – Overall Winner 2016 and; All Souls Church, Bolton (Restoration Category Winner 2015). Recognising projects both large and small, the awards also celebrate smaller scale interventions too for their significant contribution to the local area, such as the Road of Remembrance war poppies, Folkestone (Public Realm Judges’ Special Prize 2016). Find about last year's Design Awards here.

We want this year to be even bigger.

In particular, we want to hear about well-designed housing developments in your area and we are announcing two new categories this year for new housing: one for developments of up to 50 dwellings and another for larger schemes.

Do you have a new housing development in your area that you are proud of? Has the scheme been designed to a high standard? Did the developer positively engage with local community in designing the development? If yes, tell us, by nominating the development for an award here.



There are four categories for nominations

New buildings


  • Less than 50 dwellings
  • 50 dwellings or more

Historic buildings that have been re-used, retro-fitted or refurbished

Public realm and open spaces

To mark the 50th anniversary of Conservation Area legislation in 2017, there will also be a special prize this year for a development within a Conservation Area, which could be awarded from any of the above categories.

The closing date for applications has now been extended. The deadline is now 28th February 2017. 

To help you with your submission we have produced a Top Tips for a Good Design Awards Submission which you can see here.



Nominations can be made by local community groups and organisations including:

  • Civic Societies
  • Residents’ Associations
  • Town and Parish Councils
  • Neighbourhood Forums
  • Building Preservation Trusts
  • Community councils
  • Development Trusts
  • Local history societies
  • Community arts groups
  • Other community based voluntary organisations.

Entries must be submitted using the online application form (unless other arrangements have been made and agreed with Civic Voice prior to the closing date).



Only buildings and projects in England are eligible for the awards. For the 2017 award, any project completed in the two-year period after 1 January 2015 and before 31 December 2016 may be entered.

For the purposes of the competition the word ‘project’ or ‘scheme’ includes any structure whether new, re-used, retro-fitted or refurbished, converted or conserved; or any significant public realm project, such as streetscape works, new or restored parks, etc.


What are the judges looking for?

The Civic Voice Design Awards benefits from an eminent panel of judges which is chaired by Max Farrell, Project Leader for the Farrell Review of Architecture and the Built Environment (2014) and includes: Rob Cowan (Urban Design Skills), Russ Hamilton (Farrells); Tracy Meller (Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners); Sophia de Sousa (The Glass-House Community Led Design) and; John Walker (The Canterbury Society)

In assessing applications for the awards, the judges will be looking for excellence in terms of:

  • High quality of design and construction
  • Community participation and engagement
  • Contribution to local life
  • Innovation and creativity
  • Efficient use of resources
  • Conservation or enhancement of the local historic built environment.
  • Promoting pride of place

Thinking of nominating a building or place for an award? If you would like to know anymore information on the Design Awards contact Civic Voice on .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).



If you have any questions or would like further information, please contact Civic Voice on: 

Tel: 0151 707 4319


Please fill in the details below to access the Civic Voice Design Award 2016 brochure