The ArchitectureAu Award for Social Impact recognizes projects that promote the common good. It has been conceived to reward practice that preferences empathy over aesthetics, extending the spatial possibilities of architecture to advance the discipline and to empower its users. Projects may relate to social cohesion, racial justice, inclusive housing, accessibility, equity, social sustainability or other areas where design can make a difference to society. This accolade is the only national recognition of this type of work within Australia.

The award criteria focus on demonstrable social benefit and the quality and originality of the design thinking that delivered it. Practices of all types and scale may enter. A broad array of work is eligible, but submissions must be connected in some way to Australian architecture and the built environment. Applicants may include architects, interior designers, planners, landscape architects, urban designers and other built environment professionals. Projects must be built, not speculative.

“Architecture has always been about social impact, about making change for people and society. And yet this aspect of architecture is too often overshadowed by the aesthetic and the visual. This award is long overdue as a way to recognize and celebrate the outstanding projects that make a difference to the public, to local communities, and underrepresented groups.” — Rory Hyde, jury convener and associate professor at Melbourne School of Design.