Adrian Ashton Prize for architectural writing and criticism


The Adrian Ashton Prize is awarded to recognise an outstanding piece of architectural reporting and criticism, as part of the NSW Architecture Awards. Open to journalists, editors, authors, producers and others reporting on architecture and design in NSW, the prize recognises quality communication, public engagement and high-quality debate. 

The Award recognises the role and contribution of people who:

  • bring architecture to the attention of the general public
  • create awareness of architectural practice
  • generate quality public debate about architectural issues and,
  • provide information for relevant professionals and specialists in the areas of architecture, interior design and environmental design.

The prize was first introduced in 1986 as a biennial award. Adrian Ashton was a past president of the Institute and founding member of the National Trust in NSW; however, it is his role as the first editor of the NSW Chapter’s ‘Architecture Bulletin’ that this prize commemorates. In 2016 the prize eligibility was broadened to incorporate books, design focused public events and expanded digital media.

To be eligible, submissions need to have been:  

  • written or produced by a resident of New South Wales, or
  • circulated, or occured in New South Wales, or
  • about an architectural topic relevant to New South Wales

Prize criteria

  1. The submission should provoke active discussion, incite informed responses and challenge public perception about the work of architects, interior designers, urban and environmental designers, both in the built and unbuilt environment.
  2. The submission should reflect an intelligent, balanced yet critical, well-reasoned and evocative view of the subject under discussion. This may well include the author/organiser’s passionate expression or opinion but this should be clearly differentiated.
  3. The submission should demonstrate the author/organiser’s awareness of architecture’s social and educational context.
  4. Coherence of visual, written or spoken commentary is essential.
  5. The submission must reflect standards of excellence expected of the participating media. It should be well designed and well written in plain English to easily communicate with economy, imagination and coherence.
  6. The submission shall have been broadcast, published, circulated, or in the case of an event, have occured, in New South Wales after the 1st January and before the closing date of the award.
  7. The Jury may decide, entirely at its discretion, to offer one or more Awards that recognise excellence. They may also choose not to award in any year.