Adrian Ashton Prize for Architectural Culture & Literature

First introduced in 1986 as a biennial award, the Adrian Ashton Prize recognises an outstanding piece of architectural reporting and criticism. Open to journalists, editors, authors, producers and others reporting on architecture and design in NSW, the prize promotes quality communication, public engagement and high-quality debate. In 2016 the prize eligibility was broadened to incorporate books, design focused public events and expanded digital media.

The prize acknowledges 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.

Submissions for the 2020 Adrian Ashton Prize were open from Tuesday 10 August and closed at 11:59pm on Tuesday 22 September 2020. The winner will be announced in November.

Submissions in 2020 should have been broadcast, published, circulated, or have occurred in New South Wales between 1st January 2018 and 1st August 2020.


Adrian Ashton (1907 – 1982)

Adrian Ashton wrote for a number of architectural journals and was Managing Editor, Building Publishing Co. Pty. Ltd., publishers of architectural, building and engineering journals 1930 – 1967 including ‘Building’, ‘The Australian Engineer’, ‘Construction’. He was the Honorary Editor of the Chapter Bulletin for the Royal Australian Institute of Architects (NSW Chapter) from January 1943 until December 1953. From 1965 – 1972 he edited university publications and undertook public relations work as public information officer at the University of New South Wales.

Ashton was a fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects and life fellow of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects having been a Councillor (1943 – 1952), President (1948 -1950) & member of the Board of Architectural Education of the NSW Chapter.  In 1964 he was awarded a C.B.E. for Services to Architecture. His involvement in architecture and his deep love of old buildings lead him to found the NSW Branch of the National Trust in 1948 and become the first president.



Open to journalists, editors, authors, producers and others reporting on architecture and design in NSW, the Prize accepts entries from electronic, print, specialist, popular and online media, as well as specialist architectural and design focused public events. Submissions in 2020 should have been broadcast, published, circulated, or have occurred in New South Wales between 1st January 2018 and 1st August 2020.

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.

Submission Requirements

To enter you will need: 

  • Details of the submission including author, contributor and publisher details;
  • Confirmation you are the author/owner of the work, and/or have authorisation from the owner to submit;
  • Hard or digital copies of the entry or associated materials available; and
  • All materials must be converted into electronic format and submitted via the online platform.

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.

Conditions for Award of the Adrian Ashton Prize

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. 

Jury Composition

  • Chair of Editorial Committee or a nominated representative
  • Chapter President or a nominated representative
  • A previous Prize recipient
  • A media representative/journalist
  • Additional jurors may be invited

Previous Prize Winners


Catherine Hunter | Glenn Murcutt: Spirit of Place

The documentary ‘Glenn Murcutt: Spirit of Place’, traces the construction of the Australian Islamic Centre in Newport, Victoria – possibly Murcutt’s most important public building to date – alongside reflections on his overall body of work by leading architects and critics including Haig Beck, Keith Cottier, Norman Foster, Frank Gehry and Françoise Fromonot. This work adds another valuable record to the documentation of Australia’s only Pritzker Prize winning career to date.

For more information regarding the Adrian Ashton Prize, please contact Kat Han, Member Services Officer NSW

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