The Civic Trust Awards scheme was established in 1959 to recognise outstanding architecture, planning and design in the built environment.
As one of the oldest built environment awards schemes in Europe, during the last 50 years, more than 5500 projects have been rewarded and the scheme has continued in its objective to recognise projects that have made a positive contribution to the local communities they serve.
The Civic Trust Awards operates on a not-for-profit basis and remains committed to delivering an awards scheme that promotes positive community and environmental impact. We also provide an opportunity for the general public to participate in nominating and judging schemes from their local area.
On 21st April 2009, The Civic Trust was placed in administration following the loss of a large government contract, resulting in all 28 staff being made redundant. Successful projects being delivered by the Civic Trust, such as Heritage Open Days and Purple Flag Awards found suitable homes within other organisations, however the Civic Trust Awards which was established in 1959 to recognise the very best in architecture, design, planning, landscape and public art, was in danger of being lost all together.
As one of the longest standing built environment awards schemes in Europe, the uniqueness of the scheme is that of relying on volunteer assessors to ensure that Awards are given to projects of the highest quality design, but only if they are judged to have made a positive cultural, social or economic contribution to the local community.
After 3 months of uncertainty, on 26th June 2009, Malcolm Hankey former Built Environment Manager at The Civic Trust who had managed the Civic Trust Awards for 2 years, successfully rescued the scheme from the administration process. Unprecedented support from National Panel Members, Assessors and professionals who were desperate for the scheme to continue under the management and guidance of Malcolm was received and The Civic Trust Awards was set up as a not for profit Community Interest Company.
As part of the rescue package Malcolm also secured over 50 years of priceless Civic Trust Awards archive material, such as brochures, photographs and original application documents which had been earmarked for disposal. This is now thankfully in storage and we hope to use this to form the Built Environment Network (BE-Net) – the web based information resource which addresses a range of education needs for schools, higher education research, built environment practitioners and the general public.
Malcolm Hankey said “I am delighted to secure the future of the Civic Trust Awards, ensuring its continuation in recognising excellent architecture, planning and design for schemes that have made a positive impact on their local community. The scheme is hugely popular with built environment professionals and I am sure they will also be pleased to see it continue.”
Tony Chapman, RIBA Head of Awards said “I am delighted to see that the Civic Trust Awards has been rescued. The RIBA will continue to endorse the awards and its members who help judge them.”
Kevin McGeough, Policy Manager, Homes and Communities Agency said, “The Homes and Communities Agency remain committed to promoting high quality sustainable development through good design. We are particularly supportive of the Civic Trust Awards and its understanding of the important role which heritage plays in sustainable place-making and we wish you every success in the future.”
Neil Gillespie, Reiach and Hall Architects said, “We are particularly appreciative and proud of our Civic Trust Awards. A Civic Trust Award recognises something beyond any individual architectural object, something bigger, something collective. In a period of economic collapse where individual greed and acquisitiveness are unsustainable, the idea of community re-emerges.”
Derek Fraser, University of Edinburgh said “I’m very happy to hear that the Civic trust awards will continue. I believe they remain the premier award scheme for the UK and I will be honoured to serve again as an assessor should I be called.”
Ross McGregor said “I was truly saddened to learn of the demise of the Civic Trust and, so I had supposed, of its Award Scheme. It was, therefore, with a genuine feeling of delight, that I read your e-mail this morning. I should be only too happy to support the work of the Awards Scheme in any way that I can. May I thank those folk who have managed to preserve the Scheme on behalf everyone who cares for the look and quality of our built environment and wish you and your colleagues the best of good fortune for the future.”
Peter Drummond, National Chairman, The Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland said, “I was delighted to see from your email of 2nd July that the Civic Trust Awards will continue, notwithstanding the demise of the Trust itself. The publicity which the awards bring to the build environment are very much welcome, and we would be much the poorer were they to be lost.”
Elaine Smith, Blackpool Civic Trust said, “I am very pleased to hear that the Civic Trust Awards is continuing and it has our full support”
Joanna Murray-Smith, Isle of Wight Council said “The Isle of Wight Council would be very happy to retain contact with the Civic Trust Awards and help in any way. I am pleased to hear the scheme will continue to operate.”
Emma Keyte, Wilkinson Eyre Architects said “Can I just say how very glad we are that the Civic Trust Awards are still continuing. They are still among our most important awards to win as they really seem to confirm that our work has found its place in the wider community.”
Civic Trust Awards is a trading name of “Civic Trust Awards CIC” - a Community Interest Company registered in England and Wales (No. 6885454).