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RIBA announces new-look Stephen Lawrence Prize and student mentoring

From 2023, the Stephen Lawrence Prize will celebrate new talent by exclusively recognising projects led by an early career project architect.

30 November 2022

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced revised eligibility for the Stephen Lawrence Prize and an associated student mentoring opportunity.

Now in its 25th year, the annual Stephen Lawrence Prize was founded by the Marco Goldschmied Foundation and Baroness Doreen Lawrence in 1998, in memory of Stephen Lawrence, an aspiring architect who was tragically murdered in a racist attack in 1993.

From 2023, the Stephen Lawrence Prize will celebrate new talent by exclusively recognising projects led by an early career project architect, typically someone who has qualified within five years prior to the project’s completion date. Previously, the prize was awarded to the best projects with a construction budget of less than £1 million.

In addition to this significant eligibility change, an architecture student, chosen by the Stephen Lawrence Day Foundation, will join the jury selecting the winning scheme, and go on to be mentored by the winning project architect.

 Baroness Doreen Lawrence OBE said:

“Since 1998, the Stephen Lawrence Prize has done important work in recognising remarkable architecture – and as we approach the 25th edition, it seemed the right time to revisit the focus. Finding ways to increase diversity and inclusion are critical, and I am delighted that this new iteration of the award will solely recognise the work of early career architects. The revised eligibility, alongside the mentoring scheme, ensures what the award offers strongly aligns with our aim to celebrate those starting out in the industry. As always, I very much look forward to joining the jury next year.”

Matthew Goldschmied, Managing Trustee at the Marco Goldschmied Foundation, said:

“The Stephen Lawrence Prize has been awarded to many outstanding projects over the last 24 years, and it is timely to refresh and evolve. I’m excited by these changes which will serve to increase the breadth and diversity of this award further still, whilst crucially supporting the next generation. These are exciting developments - I greatly look forward to the selection process and am confident that we will see some exceptional projects in 2023.”

 As in previous years, the Stephen Lawrence Prize shortlist will be selected from winners of the UK RIBA Regional Awards. Project Architects – including their year of qualification – are identified at the point of entry. The winner will be announced at the Stirling Prize Ceremony in October 2023.

The 2023 RIBA Awards are open for entries until 12 January 2023. Information on the entry process and eligibility can be found here:


Notes to editors

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  2. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is a global professional membership body that serves its members and society in order to deliver better buildings and places, stronger communities and a sustainable environment. Follow us on Twitter for regular RIBA updates
  3. The RIBA Awards have been running since 1966. No matter the shape, size, budget or location, RIBA Award winning schemes set the standard for great architecture across the country. RIBA Awards are for buildings in the UK by RIBA Chartered Architects and RIBA International Fellows. Entries are to be submitted to the region or nation in which the building is situated. Projects are judged first for RIBA Regional Awards, then RIBA National Awards; the RIBA Stirling Prize shortlist is selected from winners of the RIBA National Awards.
  4. For this award, early career architect is defined as someone who has qualified as an architect typically within five years prior to the project completion date, although we will consider mitigations that may impact this timeframe. We recognise that some entrants may not have been working full time for a range of reasons. To ensure inclusivity, the panel will actively encourage applications from people who may have been working for longer than five years but have spent time outside of their professional career.
  5. The Stephen Lawrence Day Foundation was established amid unprecedented growing global awareness of racial inequality, and exists to inspire a more equal, inclusive society, and to foster opportunities for marginalised young people in the UK. The Foundation has been working tirelessly with stakeholders in education, business, and government to develop a framework that will become the bedrock of the foundation’s future work.
  6. The Marco Goldschmied Foundation was created by Marco Goldschmied in 1998 and continues to sponsor The Stephen Lawrence Prize for architecture and to award bursaries for the support of architecture students in need. The Foundation supports research into innovation in the arts, environment and human rights fields by the provision of grants and awards to individuals or other charitable organisations.

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