The Norwich Society

Design awards About the design awards


The Norwich Society Design Awards 2003 - 2017

Between 2003 - 2017, The Norwich Society ran biennial design awards to encourage and highlight the best of contemporary architecture and the built environment within the City boundary. The aim of the Society was to stimulate interest, promote critical assessment and publicise the variety of buildings that make up the city scene. To generate interest in the awards, nominations were requested from the Society’s membership, architects, contractors and their clients, thus involving the widest possible participation.

Find out about the awards from 2003 - 2017: Norwich Society Design Awards: an Illustrated History.

The Design and Craftsmanship Awards - from 2019 

In 2019, the Norwich Society joined with the Norfolk Association of Architects, which had its own Norfolk-wide awards scheme, to create the Design and Craftsmanship Awards. This combined scheme provided the opportunity to increase awareness of good contemporary design, and to encourage greater participation. Eligible projects include any structure, whether new, re-used, retro-fitted or refurbished, converted or conserved; or any significant public realm project such as streetscape works, or new or restored parks. The judging criteria particularly look at aspects of design, craftsmanship, sustainability and community.

Find out about the 2019, 2021 and 2023 Awards on the DCA website:

You can also follow on Twitter at @dca2021 and with the hashtag #DCAwards2021.

Design and Craftsmanship Awards 2023 

In search of the best new architecture in Norwich and Norfolk

“We believe great projects can change people’s lives for the better”.

This year, RIBA Norfolk and The Norwich Society were joined by Norwich University of the Arts for the Design and Craftsmanship Awards 2023. These biennial awards are a celebration of outstanding buildings and places throughout Norfolk that positively affect our built environment and make Norfolk a fantastic place to live and work. 

The event was sponsored by Vantage. The 2023 awards ceremony was once again held at The Assembly House in Norwich with seventeen built projects recognised for their contribution. The projects were all based in Norfolk with designers and contractors mostly from the county. 

A nomination not only celebrates the finished project, but all those involved from designers to the specialist craftsmen whose collaboration delivers high standards of finish and innovation. An award winner gains increased industry profile and recognition in a wider setting. 

The awards were given to projects in that deliver a high standard of design and craftsmanship in their construction and finishes, meet the needs of their users and contribute to the public enjoyment of places, and demonstrate that they have taken account of the wider environmental implications, including minimising any impact on climate change from their construction and use. 

There were four categories – houses and housing, non-residential, conservation and community - and a special new award for Sustainability has been introduced for DCA 2023 for the project selected from all categories which demonstrates the highest standard of environmental design.

SEE The DCA23 Awards Ceremony Presentation SLIDE SHOW


Projects recognised in the house and housing category were:

  • Esdelle Street, Norwich – a new house in the City’s conservation area designed by Nicholas Vanburgh Ltd and built by Blue Door Development Company Ltd.
  • Newmarket Road, Norwich - the renovation and extension of a Victorian property designed and built by Grafted.
  • Red House, Stanhoe – a self-built contemporary house in a rural setting designed by Robin Bertram Architect.

Commendations were given to:

  • Croft House, Wells-next-the-Sea - the retrofit, renovation and extension of a period dwelling designed by Liv Architect Ltd and built by Grocott & Murfit.
  • St James Quay-Phase 1, Norwich - A new urban community of apartments in the central Norwich riverside area designed by Feilden + Mawson LLP and built by Hill Partnerships Ltd.


Projects recognised in the non-residential category were:

  • The Digi-Tech Factory, Norwich – a striking four-storey building housing the latest equipment and technology to deliver the most up to date learning experience for digital students at City College Norwich, designed by Coffy Architects and built by R G Carter Ltd.
  • Duke Street Riverside, Norwich – a mixed use development combining teaching spaces and student accommodations designed by Hudson Architects and built by R G Carter.

A commendation was given to:

  • Broadland Gate Police Station, Norwich – a new police station and associated infrastructure designed by Chaplin Farrant Limited and built by R G Carter.


The Community Award recognises and celebrates successful community projects which have engaged local people throughout the decision-making, design and building processes.

Projects recognised in the community category were:

  • East Anglian Air Ambulance New Headquarters, Norwich – a new building bringing all operations under one roof designed by Feilden + Mawson and built by P J Spillings.
  • Elm House, Thetford - the reconfiguration and upgrading of a 1960’s building to provide emergency accommodation, designed by Daniel Connal Partnership and built by Cocksedge.

A Commendation was given to:

  • Big C, Norwich - a new community centre offering cancer support to patients and families in Norfolk designed by Purcell and built by Draper & Nichols.


Projects recognised in the conservation category were:

  • Mutton’s Mill, Halvergate – the restoration to working condition of a Grade II* listed drainage mill, designed by EAGM and built by Broad Authority and City College, Norwich.
  • Oxburgh Hall – conservation repairs and structural interventions designed by Purcell and built by Messenger Construction Ltd.

Commendations were given to;

  • Drayton Lodge, Norwich – conservation repairs to an early 15th century ruined manor, designed by Ruth Brennan Architecture and built by S&L Restoration.
  • Shotesham Estates – conversion of stable and outhouse to a wedding venue, designed by A Squared Architects and built by Draper & Nicols Ltd.
  • Keeling Hall, Foulsham – refurbishment of 18th century barn bringing it back into proper use, designed by Nicolas Vanburgh Ltd and built by Draper & Nichols Ltd.
  • Hall Farmhouse, Ditchingham - conversion of two flats to a single home designed by Architide Ltd and built by TM Brown Ltd (Reeve Division)

The SIR BERNARD FEILDEN AWARD for Conservation was awarded in recognition of excellence in alterations and restoration of a historic building in Norwich. 

This year the award was presented to Drayton Lodge, Norwich for conservation repairs to an early 15th century ruined manor which has been on the Building at Risk register for many years. Designed by Ruth Brenna Architecture with work carried out by S&L Restoration.


The award for sustainability was given to Mutton’s Mill, Halvergate. The newly restored mill is one of the main focus points on the new Halvergate Mills trail, which has been redeveloped to encourage more people out into the drained landscapes of the Broads throughout the year for improved physical health and wellbeing. As well as incorporating wildlife enhancements for bats and owls, consideration was also been given to the longevity of the mill in the face of the changing climate, including the installation of a lightening protection system as mill sales - the tallest feature in the landscape - have historically been prone to lightening strikes. The project also provided training and apprenticeship opportunities for key heritage skills that would otherwise be lost.


In 2021 a Student Award category was created for the best design work by a student studying architecture at NUA. Bookhive, an independent bookshop in Norwich and RIBA Norfolk sponsored the Student Award this year, which encourages architectural students at the beginning of their journey to compete with the best in their class and develop their skills and own style. This years Student Award was awarded to: Isaac Zipfel for their Norfolk Wildlife Trust Headquarters Proposition.


The DCA23 is donating to two charities -The Matthew Project which empowers young people and adults to overcome drugs, alcohol and mental health issues so they can live their lives more fully, and the Architects’ Benevolent Society which supports the architectural community and their families in times of need.

SEE The DCA23 Awards Ceremony Presentation SLIDE SHOW 

Find out more on the DCA website:

DCA 2021

The award ceremony for the 2021 Design and Craftsmanship Awards took place on 14th October 2021 at The Assembly House.


The 2021 awards were judged across categories – Housing, Non-Residential, Conservation and Community as well as an inaugural Student award. The Sir Bernard Feilden Award was presented by The Norwich Society in recognition of excellence in alterations and restoration of a historic building in Norwich. Details of Award and Commendation recipients can be viewed in both list and narrated video form as below: