Promote Excellence

The primary purpose of the RSUA Design Awards is to promote excellence in the design of our built environment with the view to making Northern Ireland a better place for everyone.

RSUA Design Awards 2021 and beyond

At the end of November, the RIBA board decided that, starting from 2022, projects will need to have been in use for at least one year before they can be entered into the RIBA awards. In the interim, the 2021 award winners will be selected from the 2020 shortlist. 

In recent years RSUA has aligned the RSUA Design Awards with the RIBA Awards to the extent that the RSUA Design Awards double up as the RIBA Northern Ireland Awards and provide the route to winning a UK-wide RIBA Award. 

RSUA Council has decided to continue with this alignment and, in so doing, derive benefit by also placing emphasis on the importance of assessing buildings in use and continuing to have a combined RSUA/RIBA approach to awards in Northern Ireland.

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Our Aims


The Awards have been running since 1998 and they are recognised as the leading architecture awards in Northern Ireland. The gala evening is the premier event in the calendar for everyone involved in the design of the built environment.


This is the second year of the alignment between the RSUA and RIBA awards. Our partnership with RIBA means that RSUA Awards will double up as the RIBA Northern Ireland Awards. Winning an RSUA Award is now the first step to being considered for a UK-wide RIBA Award.

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Award Categories

Projects entered for this year’s competition, regardless of project type or value, will be considered for a headline RSUA Design Award 2020.  Given the outbreak of COVID-19, the judging for the RSUA Design Awards 2020 has been paused and awards will be made later in 2021.

Projects that win an RSUA Design Award are in the running to win the Liam McCormick Prize – Northern Ireland’s building of the year and will be considered for a RIBA National Award. Judges may also give a range of discretionary awards.

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Previous Winners