Jo Brand
Jo Brand

Student Design Awards 2019

Share on linkedin
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

Architects for Health Student Design Awards 2019

The AfH Student Design Awards challenge students of architecture and design to explore innovative and compassionate design for health and social care settings.


The AfH Student Design Award is an annual design competition for students and 2019 marks our 12th year. As well as promoting good design, AfH is also committed to encouraging the next generation to become passionate about the quality of design for health and social care settings.

Our goal is to celebrate the opportunities in health and social care for innovation and experimentation and to bring together students from different disciplines to share fresh thinking. We are especially keen to encourage students in UK and international architecture and design schools to engage including courses in public art, landscape design, interior design and architecture.

Participating organisations

We collaborate with schools of architecture and design through both a Directors Award and an Open Award.

The Directors Award is focussed around a ‘real’ site for colleges and universities without healthcare as part of their course. We work closely with GSTT, GOSH and last year with NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG, who act as proxy clients and support the Directors project through their hospital and community sites.

For the Open Award, we encourage and support colleges and universities to embed the health programme into their curricula and give exposure to those already engaging in healthcare projects. We support participants through reviews (crits) and seminars.

The Brief for the 2019 Awards

This year’s theme is set around the topic of Humane Design in a Technological World. The provision for healthcare is changing; for both those who provide care and treatment and those who receive the ministrations of others. Human evolution has evolved slowly and carefully over the millennia, however technology is changing at such a pace it is difficult to stay in step and even harder to design spaces.

The arrival of the digital hospital, the incessant and rapid rise of technology, AI and the internet of things is inevitably hanging healthcare and the environments from which healthcare is delivered.

Architect Sou Fujimoto describes the paradigm of ‘Primitive Future’ which identifies the contrast between what he calls the “nest” and “cave” type architectures. The ‘nest’ implies a space that has been specifically prepared for human occupation
customised to comfort them in specific ways. A cave is the opposite of this: a naturally formed space, which to be occupied requires a creative act on behalf of a human. The cave alters the behaviour of its occupant by offering no clear way in which to use the space.

Has healthcare design moved too far along the paradigm of nest architecture? Does the current trend for co-design result in healthcare architecture that is warm and welcoming, that encourages nesting but in conflict with the requirement to deliver high tech and ever changing spaces? Can technology, should technology be planned for in the nest and if so how? For example, how do human beings find their sense of place in the linear accelerator or proton beam therapy cave?


Entries are judged by a panel of leading practitioners and clinicians.

Winners are rewarded with cash prizes, a chance to exhibit project work at national conferences, complementary AfH membership for one year and an opportunity to discuss their work with others including architectural and design leaders in healthcare.

All student entries are captured in a beautifully designed and produced A4 bound booklet celebrating the students work.

Programme 2019

Nov 1 AfH Student Design Awards Launch party at HKS Architects Limited, Elsley House, 24–30 Great Titchfield Street, London W1W 8BF

Nov – Feb Register tutors into the programme and host visits to proxy clients

Jan- May Design development by students and tutors within schools; AfH can offer support and crits as occasional external tutors by invitation.

May Tutors nominate projects from their courses to be considered for the awards. Final decision made with AfH.

June The judging
June Submissions featured at European Healthcare Design Congress 2019
June Student exhibition and seminar at Wellcome Collection in London to share ideas and projects

Practice Sponsors

       P+HS   Scott Tallon Walker
HKS   Paul Murphy Architects   


For further details of the programme and to register please select Student Awards on our Contact page and send a message.


Share on linkedin
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're OK with this, but you can opt out if you wish.