Student Design Awards


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


If you would like to be a sponsor of the AfH 2022 Student Design Awards please get in touch with our Programme Director.


The AfH Student Design Award is an annual design competition for students and 2022 marks our 14th year, having taken a pause in 2020 due to the pandemic.  As well as promoting good design, AfH is 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 for innovation and experimentation and to bring together students from different disciplines to share their creative ideas. We are keen to engage students within all design disciplines, including landscape, public art, interior design and architecture.


Outside of the AfH Student Design Awards we are delighted to announce the launch of the (2022) AfH Knowledge Exchange. The AfH Knowledge Exchange creates a virtual ‘centre of excellence’ for healthcare design, bridging the gap between academia, professional practice and the NHS.

Our aim is to inspire, challenge and guide the next generation of healthcare designers, through a growing range of activities.

Our current focus involves two initiatives – including the AfH Student Design Awards – which, along with a wider commitment to connecting students and professionals, support these aims. If you would like to be a part of this initiative more information can be found through the following link, and you can also get in touch –


We collaborate with schools of architecture and design through both a Directors Award and an Open Award. The awards are split into two streams to enable students to participate whether healthcare forms part of their course or not. AfH support participants through reviews (crits) and seminars on request.

The Directors Award is focussed around a ‘real’ site for colleges and universities without healthcare as part of their course – The Brief below can be used at the tutor’s discretion. We work closely with NHS Trusts and Clinical Commissioning Groups, who can act as proxy clients to support the project through their hospital and community sites. A suitable proxy client can be arranged on request but is not essential.

The Open Award supports colleges and universities where healthcare already forms part of the curriculum, encouraging those undertaking healthcare design projects to extend and embed their learning. The brief below can be used at the tutors’ discretion.


The Form of Wellbeing – a Sum of Parts
We are becoming increasingly aware of the need for a healthy environment, of the problems of pollution, obesity, global warming, loneliness; the destruction of species and the emergence of super bugs that have touched and impacted on all of us in recent times. We are now very much aware of the need for exercise, sunlight, vitamins, contact with nature and social bonds. Even governments are shifting from their two-dimensional metric measuring national life from GDP to a wellbeing economy, putting the wellbeing of people and the planet first. It’s about a holistic prosperity for humanity not only around our economy, our society, our environment and habitats but also our physical and mental health.

So how can our architecture and the spaces and landscape we inhabit, respond to this new consciousness?
Ancient cultures have already explored this. The Asclepieon, situated outside Epidaurus, was the most celebrated healing centre dating from the third or fourth century BC. It was a place where one went to be cured: a total landscape of wellbeing, built around a health centre. Embracing temples, clinics, landscape, houses for sleeping and dream cures as well as an athletics stadium, it was of course, also a theatre for cultural, spiritual, and physical catharsis. The views out to sea and the captivating landscape were as much a part of the healing process as were the health treatments. Over the years a revival of these ideals of a healthy city have emerged in response to poverty, plague, over development and war. The early modernists created an architecture of clinical precision, light and air, in which the interior merged into an exterior framed by trees and greenery. The anthroposophists created an architecture based on observation of the essential, living world and in the strengthening of the mental-spiritual qualities of man; in the observation of the mineral, plant, animal and human world and in the observation, and above all strengthening, of one’s own thinking, feeling and will. Health was always at the heart of the project but was very much part of wider milieu. More recently, with the medicalisation of pivotal moments: life, birth, old age and death, the idea of an architecture for health was extracted from the mainstream of construction and ghettoised into the modern hospital and clinic, a sterile environment with its focus on healing, shifting towards an institution.

Has this “ghettoisation” of the architecture of health led to a wholesale forgetting of the importance of wellbeing in the architecture of the everyday?
In recent years, our understanding of health has progressed into an appreciation of “wellbeing”. In architecture, this transition could not be more pronounced: it is the move away from the functionalist constraints of an aesthetic of hygiene, to a contemporary situation in which architecture, technology, interiors and the environment are entwined in a symbiotic relationship with occupants which will evolve, envisaging a future too different from our present.

So how will how “wellbeing” manifest and evolve in the things we touch, the places we live, the places we heal and the towns and cities we live in?
In responding to this brief, students are also invited to consider Architects for Health’s three content streams for 2022: ‘Dream’, ‘Build’ and ‘Heal’. These streams explore the evolutionary, revolutionary and the practical, creating scope for students from a wide range of disciplines to submit responses – either individually or collectively. Collaboration with other design disciplines is also welcome.
More details on each stream are available here: –


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

Winners will be announced during, we hope, an in-person event in London in late June and rewarded with prizes, certificates and the opportunity to discuss their work with others including architectural and design leaders in healthcare.

We may also hold an exhibition of students work (tbc).

Students who submit work will receive a complementary AfH membership for one year as part of their registration. And all submissions are captured in a beautifully designed and produced A4 bound booklet celebrating the students work and each participant will receive a copy.

practice sponsors

Sponsorship of the AfH Student Design Awards is invited from Architects practices only at £500 per practice. This benefits of this are…

    • Practice logo and hyperlink included on:
      • AfH Sponsors page for one year
      • AfH 2022 Student Design Awards Event page and Events page
      • All email notices to AfH members
      • All advertising of the event (FB, Twitter, LinkedIn)
    • Inclusion of Practice logo on sponsors banner (virtual)
    • Inclusion of Practice logo in SDA booklet
    • Plus an invitation to join us for the Awards ceremony on ZOOM
    • For more information please get in touch with our Programme Director.



AfH invite universities to take part and reconnect with universities who have already expressed interest in participating to confirm we are running. We will also contact all other universities in our database as well.

Dec - MAR

AfH members offer presentations at local universities on request.


Tutors: by the end of March:

  • Please confirm you would like to take part in the Student Design Awards 2022
  • Nominate students using Google Sheets – the link will be sent to you individually after confirmation of above.

march - may

Virtual Crits are arranged with AfH members at a mutually acceptable time.
  • AfH will send registration information to tutors to pass onto nominated students. Students will receive free AfH membership for 1 year using a dedicated code – this will also act as their registration to the AfH Student Design Awards 2022.
  • Once students have registered, they will receive a Dropbox upload link to submit their work.


  • 1-15 June | Judges review entries and score them.
  • AfH team compile digital loop and printed documentation.
  • 15-22 June | Scores are moderated, winners selected, prizes prepared and certificates printed!
    • All shortlisted entries can then be compiled into a video file which can be shared back to the universities and viewed on our website.
  • 30 June (provisional) | Award ceremony + Student presentations


For further details of the programme and to register please contact the Student Design Awards team here

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