Best in Practice Prize (open for submissions)

Launched in July 2019, the Best in Practice Prize recognises excellence in practice, with a focus on the development of supportive and inclusive workplaces and contributing to the overall success and elevation of a positive workplace culture in Architecture.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created many challenges as well as opportunities for practices. This year’s prize will recognise practices who have risen to the occasion, demonstrating outstanding achievement in their culture in the areas of Continuity, Communication and Connection.  In each criterion please include how you have responded to the pandemic, and how the profession may benefit in sharing ideas in a time of crisis.

Questions can be viewed here before proceeding to online submission. Please note only online submissions via our platform are accepted, please do not complete and submit the PDF file.


Submissions are open from Thursday 20 August and close at 11:59pm on Thursday 24 September



To acknowledge non-project initiatives and successes in running a practice and contributing to the overall success and elevation of a positive workplace culture in Architecture.

To raise awareness within the industry as to what ‘best practice’ looks like and what is acknowledged and rewarded with a view to raising overall standards.


An exemplary and holistic workplace culture:

  • promotes and supports architects and designers
  • enables ongoing professional development and the promotion of a positive workplace culture
  • creates a diverse and inclusive environment
  • supports employee engagement and empowerment
  • applies progressive, innovative approaches for better cultural outcomes.

Continuity, communication and connection are key elements of a culture that attracts and retains talent, drives engagement, and positively impacts happiness, satisfaction and performance. The focus of the assessment of submissions will be how the practice has made a real difference in a tangible and authentic way through initiatives and innovations in continuity, communication and connection to create an outstanding culture that contributes to the advancement of the profession.
It is important that your submission provides a real sense of the culture of your practice.


Entrants must satisfy all of the following criteria:

  • Practices must have a minimum of 5 full or part-time employees to enter
  • The practice must be a member of the Institute, either holding a current A+ membership or the principal/owner being a current member
  • The practice must meet its employer obligations under the Fair Work Act, National Employment Standards, Architects Award + WHS Act

Entries will be judged in one of two categories based on the practice size:

  1. Small and medium practice (5-30 people)
  2. Large practice (31+ people)

Key dates

Submissions for the 2020 Best in Practice Prize open from Thursday 20 August and will close at 11:59pm on Thursday 24 September 2020.

A shortlist will be announced at the end of September. As part of the assessment, up to three shortlisted practices per category will be asked for further information and potentially visited by jurors for an office tour and interview either in person or virtually between 12 and 16 October. The winners will be announced in November 2020.

Conditions of entry

By submitting an entry, practices agree to the information supplied being used for research and reporting in an unidentifiable way. This will take the form of a general industry ‘roundup’ report from responses provided. The intent of this is to share the innovations and initiatives shaping best practice and culture in architecture in NSW in support of improving workplaces and the profession more broadly.

Should your practice be selected as one of the category winners of the 2020 Best in Practice Prize, the practice agrees to provide a seminar/talk/presentation organised by the Australian Institute of Architects on the winning culture with a view to advancing industry best practice.


Confirmed prize:

  • The opportunity to present on your practice’s culture at an Institute talk to advance industry best practice;
  • ‘Best practice’ organisational profile in the Architecture Bulletin.

Jury Composition

  • NSW Chapter President or Past President
  • A representative nominated by Bespoke Careers
  • A representative of 2019 Prize Recipient
  • A member of the Practice Committee
  • An experienced HR professional
  • A member of EmAGN – representing the next generation of architects
  • Other advisers and industry influencers may be invited

Previous Prize Winners

2019 — BVN

BVN stood out for their progressive approach to all aspects of workplace culture. BVN recognises that a diverse and inclusive environment supports engagement, empowerment and performance.
Leading by example is demonstrated at the most senior levels of the practice. Building on the model policy developed through Male Architects Champions of Change, the practice has developed integrated cultural and technological approaches that are open to all. These aim to reduce the guilt and stigma that is too often associated with flexible and part-time work by providing transparency and promoting a ‘redistributed hours’ approach that also helps improve work life balance.

Prize Partner

For more information regarding the Best in Practice Prize, please contact please contact Kat Han, Member Services Officer NSW

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