Cambridge Design and Construction Awards

best conservation winner

Best conservation, alteration or extension of an existing building 2017 – West Court Phase 1, Jesus College by Nìall McLaughlin Architects

Together with our sponsors, Cambridge Forum for the Construction Industry (CFCI), we have held design awards annually since 1988.

Cambridge is growing and we want to celebrate the more recent, high quality, developments that have been built in the city. As part of this commitment, the terms and conditions of our Cambridge Design and Construction Awards (CDCAs) have developed over time and are regularly reviewed. 

Boundary Change for 2017

boundary change map

From the 2017 awards, any completed schemes within a 5 km radius from Great St Mary's Church in the centre of Cambridge can be entered. This is a change from the previous years where only entries from within the boundary of the city of Cambridge could be considered.

There are five main categories for entries that will be organised by the city council:

  • Best New Building - small (under £2m construction costs)
  • Best New Building - large (over £2m construction costs)
  • Conservation, Alteration or Extension of an Existing Building
  • New Neighbourhoods (awarded once every three years, next to be awarded in 2020)
  • Best new landscape (awarded once every three years starting with the 2018 awards)

In addition to these main awards, and at the judges' discretion, commendations may be awarded each year for works in the public realm and also for good examples of sustainable design and construction.

A new set of categories has been introduced and will be presented at the same event as the CDCAs. These categories are judged by experts in their field appointed by the CFCI. The awards are:

  • Apprentice Craftsperson of the Year
  • Young Professional of the Year
  • Craftsmanship Award
  • Engineering and Sustainability Project of the Year Award
  • Site Manager of the Year 

The presentation of all the awards will be made at a specific event in March 2019. Date and venue to be agreed. 


The criteria for the main CDCAs are:

  • design excellence - a building of overall architectural merit
  • design appropriate to the context
  • good quality of workmanship
  • good quality materials - including durability
  • sustainability - carbon performance, environmental design, creative approach to site constraints, future adaptability

Our panel of six judges include representatives from the sponsors as well as an expert with knowledge of Cambridge's buildings and their design and construction. The Chair of the Planning Committee will also be on the panel of judges.

The criteria for the five awards to be judged by the CFCI will be:

  • Apprentice of the Year: from Cambridge Regional College, working in the construction industry, and shows ability, enthusiasm and a good work ethic
  • Young Professional of the Year: from all sectors of the property industry, lawyers to architects, engineers to surveyors, who inspire those around them, and challenge themselves and their colleagues
  • Craftsmanship Award: exhibiting quality in their work, using their knowledge of materials to show a level of expertise and detail, with skill in the application. Ultimately there is precision and beauty in the end result
  • Engineering and Sustainability Project of the Year: projects that demonstrate engineering excellence in civil, structural, mechanical and electrical or construction engineering
  • Site Manager of the Year: a top quality site manager who builds teamwork and drives projects to successful completion ensuring customer satisfaction

How to enter

As noted earlier, the awards will be presented in March 2019 and the entries need to be received in the city council offices by 30 November 2018 at the very latest to allow for short listing and site visits in January and February 2019.

For the main CDCA applications, entrants must submit an A1 illustrative board explaining the proposal, accompanied by one side of A4 giving the project brief and the companies or individuals involved. Please state the category for which the entry is being made. In addition to the hard copies, individual photographs of the scheme must be submitted in an electronic format on either a CD or memory stick. Along with the A1 board and the A4 sheet, the entry must include the name of a contact who would be able to coordinate a site visit should the project be shortlisted.

The boards will be used during the judging as well as possibly being displayed in an area of the city centre where the general public can view them. In addition, the CFCI and Cambridge City Council will use them on their websites to inform visitors to the sites which entries won, and to promote the awards in subsequent years.

Some of the short listed entries will be asked to give a short presentation at the awards presentation evening.

All entries for the new CFCI awards need to be submitted to the city council by the same date, the 30th November 2018.

For the Apprentice of the Year, and the Young Professional of the Year, please contact for an application form.

Entrants for the new Craftsmanship Award and the Engineering and Sustainability Project of the Year award, should submit an A1 illustrative board. For the Engineering and Sustainability Project of the Year, two sides of A4 giving the project brief, the companies or individuals involved, and a summary of the engineering excellence delivered as part of the project must also be submitted. For the Craftsmanship Award an A4 sheet explaining the project should accompany the A1 illustrative board. As well as hard copies, you will need to submit electronic copies in pdf format for both of these awards.

For the Site Manager of the Year, you need to complete an application form and submit up to 3 images or drawings of projects/events/supporting material. The application form can be obtained by emailing

The full award criteria for all awards can be obtained by contacting

All entries for the CDCAs must be projects that were completed prior to their submission. They should be submitted to Susan Smith, Senior Conservation and Design Officer, at the Guildhall. Contact Susan at or 01223 457000 if you have any questions.

We look forward to receiving your entries!

The David Urwin Awards

The Cambridge Design and Construction Awards replaced our previous award scheme in 2012.

The David Urwin Awards celebrated the design of new and extended or altered buildings in Cambridge. They were established in 1988 in honour of a former planning officer at the city council.

2017 winners

2016 winners

2015 winners

2014 winners

2013 winners

2012 winners

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