The riba has decided to make a special attempt to honour clients and small practices in its awards programme for 1998 by creating two new prizes.
It has launched a Client of the Year award - the prize being a £5000 work of art commissioned by the Institute - and has also introduced a new £5000 'Silver Award' for schemes costing less than £500,000 which show 'the greatest creativity and excellence'. Both will be taken from the 1998 award winners so will not need a separate call for entries, although clients will not be eligible for the £20,000 Stirling Prize.
Marco Goldschmied, chair of the riba awards group, said that he hoped the end result would be that the importance of the client's role would be further emphasised: 'All architects realise that a supportive, committed and imaginative client is key to the success of any building project,' he said. 'I hope the new award will make the public equally aware of their role.'
An riba spokesman said clients would be assessed on the quality of the briefs they produced and on the recommendation of their architects. Coincidentally, a letter to the aj on 29 January from Clyde Malby suggested just such a client award.
The closing date for entries for the riba awards is 27 February 1998.