Every year Portsmouth sees a great many building projects completed. Most are purely functional – and there is nothing wrong with that, as all architecture must enable the use for which a building is constructed – but even the routine project does not need to be a stain on the environment if designed well. Some however, are exceptional; those which show originality and quality of design plus a high standard of build will always get noticed, but so too should those whose functionality is particularly successful, and those with environmental sensitivity or built with a view to sustainability. The Portsmouth Society has been recognising such schemes since its conception, but since 1983 this has been formalised in the presentation of Design Awards to the most deserving projects.
The linked pages give a full list of prizewinners, with a postcode for each that will get you to within a hundred yards, and a more detailed map of the winning schemes. Some may find the list of commended projects a bizarre mix; it is by no means a list of the most visually striking buildings in this densely-populated and diverse city. It represents more the story of how architecture helps to fulfil the needs of a city as a place to live and work, and how Portsmouth’s unique maritime heritage, although now well-protected in the planning system, must always be conserved. The list of new buildings in particular tells something of the story of modern municipal architecture, and alas not all of the early winners are in good shape today. The press-release that accompanied each year’s awards is attached, and it is hoped with time to supplement with a photographic database of suitable quality.
Projects are nominated by Society members, shortlisted, then visited and judged by a panel chosen from the world of architectural expertise. The winning designs are announced at a presentation evening, usually in the autumn, and receive a plaque which is unveiled by the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth. Commendation Awards are also made, to recognise great designs in a year that had an exceptional winner. In some years, the high standards of the competition may not have revealed a winning design, but there may have been a commendation-standard entry.
To be eligible, schemes must have been completed by the 31st December of the previous year and they must, of course, lie within the boundaries of the City of Portsmouth. The categories in which we seek an annual winner are:
Best new building
Best restoration or renovation
Best re-use of a building
How to nominate a building or scheme
If you would like to nominate a new building, restoration or landscaping scheme for consideration in the next competition, please download and complete the nomination form or contact David Baynes on 023 9283 1461.