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The AJ’s awards showcase the generous spirit of UK architecture

Emily Booth
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The best places support people and communities and are greater than the sum of their parts, says Emily Booth

The outpouring of affection, admiration and appreciation for Ted Cullinan says much about architecture’s ability to foster great practitioners and great teachers. Ted was both, but what resonates most in the myriad tweets, comments and memories shared with the AJ was his generosity of spirit. That generosity can be seen throughout his work and through his connections with people. It is a reminder that generous architecture is always about people, at all stages of building and long after a project is completed. 

It is a spirit that makes the best places sing. The best places – from standout social housing to innovative schools to refreshing workplaces – are always generous (even when they’re working with the tiniest of spaces). They are never measly or mean. They support people and communities and are greater than the sum of their parts. And you can see excellent examples throughout this year’s AJ Architecture Awards.

Generous architecture is always about people, at all stages of building and long after a project is completed 

In the third year of the awards, our wonderful judges have worked tirelessly to visit all the 125 shortlisted schemes. They have talked with the buildings’ architects and with the huge variety of users of those buildings. A spirit of generosity has been evident throughout: residents opening up their houses; teachers explaining how their pupils use their schools; staff describing how their offices work.

And this year we are thrilled to welcome the Manser Medal, which began its life in 2001 in partnership with the AJ, into the AJ Architecture Awards programme. Named after Michael Manser, the renowned British architect, former RIBA president and Royal Academician, The Manser Medal – AJ House of the Year award celebrates the very best in house design. Jonathan Manser, Michael’s son and chief executive of The Manser Practice, said of the new partnership: ‘We’re really pleased that the Manser Medal has found a home and partner with The Architects’ Journal. This seems to us the best possible union of an award prized by young architectural practices particularly and such an established and respected architectural publication in the UK.’

We have been inspired by the energy, commitment and enthusiasm on show throughout the AJ Architecture Awards judging process. Our many thanks go out to our judges, our sponsors and our supporters. And thanks also to you, the UK architectural community, for your generosity in sharing your exceptional work with us. People make practice – and it shows.

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