Why awards matter – if they are good

I seemed to spend the whole of last week going to awards ceremonies.

I seemed to spend the whole of last week going to awards ceremonies. OK, there were only three, but that is plenty.

In some ways they were all different – a lunch (in a big top!), a dinner, and a stand-up event with drinks and canapes. But in another way they had a lot in common. The events (respectively, the Landscape Institute Awards, the IBP journalism awards and the Wood Awards) were all judged with rigour and impartiality. I know this because I was a judge for the latter two, and edited the publication of the LI awards.

The judges of the Wood Awards visit every project (the winning project, Niall McLaughlin’s Bishop Edward King Chapel, is shown above), making sure that the execution is as good as the photos suggest. The Landscape Institute takes a different approach, bringing together a large group of judges to consider highly detailed submissions. But it then visits all the projects that it plans to award or highly commend. At least one project was removed from the listings as a result this year, showing that this is a rigorous approach.With the IBP awards, where visiting is not appropriate, the judges give careful consideration to the submissions and then come together for what can be a lively discussion.

In all cases, organisers and judges put in a lot of effort and there was a carefully considered process. This is what distinguishes good awards. In the current issue of Landscape, architectural business consultant Lucy Mori discusses why practices should enter awards and how they can make the most of them in their marketing.

Everybody involved in awards, including the entrants, has to work hard. But where they are well judged and well run, it is worth it. There is now a plethora of awards schemes. I hope this post helps make it clear why some are worth entering while others might not be.

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