Keith Williams keynote speaker at 2020 Civic Trust Awards

6 March 2020: Keith Williams as chairman delivered the keynote speech at the 61st Civic Trust Awards dinner in the Imperial War Museum of the North.

Friday 6 March 2020 : Keith Williams in his fifth year as chairman of the Civic Trust Awards National Panel, delivered the keynote speech at a sold out event at the 61st Civic Trust Awards dinner, held at the Imperial War Museum of the North at Salford Quays, Manchester.

In his speech Keith set out the major issues facing the planet in terms of climate change and laid out a challenge to both policy makers and the design and construction industry to raise their respective games calling for buildings of the future to be positive contributors rather than positive polluters of the planet.

He then reviewed the history of the awards programme from its origins in the post-war era of 1959 to the present.

Since it was founded in 1959, the Civic Trust Awards has run continuously ever since, making it Europe’s longest running architectural and built environment awards programme. It is also one of this country’s most important and prestigious. Reflecting on the history of the awards programme, Keith walked the audience through some of the great post-war buildings that in the past have received Civic Trust awards. These included the Economist Building by Alison and Peter Smithson, The Humber Bridge, Stansted Airport by Foster and Partners, Tate Modern by Herzog and DeMeuron, Wexford Opera House, and the Olympic Velodrome..all exceptional and all worthy past winners.

For the current 2020 awards round, submissions were received from UK, Republic of Ireland, USA, Australia, South Korea, Jersey, China, Canada, Denmark & Germany reflecting the awards’ broad geographic reach.

Of the 250 schemes submitted, 101 were referred by regional assessors to the National Panel for consideration, to determine which projects were to receive Civic Trust Awards or were Highly Commended  and which schemes were to receive the Special Awards.

The National Panel included Julian Robinson Director of Estates at the London School of Economics, Isabel Allen, former editor of the Architects Journal, John Davies, Head of Sustainability at Derwent London, Martin Knight of Knight Architects, Aileen Wiswell MBE of the Government Property Agency and Chris Harding, chairman of architects BDP, Dominique Staindl of PR agency ING and Clare Barton a partner at architects Haverstock.

There were some truly exceptional schemes in this round, and after much debate, the National Panel gave 4 Special Awards, 24 Civic Trust Awards with 25 projects Highly Commended. In addition, 1 AABC Conservation Award was made from the conservation projects by the Civic Trust Awards Conservation Panel along with 7 projects Highly Commended.

Keith presented the final award of the evening, the National Panel Special Award (CTA’s top award) to the team from Carmody Groarke for the Windermere Jetty Museum, South Lakeland. A fitting winner to cap an excellent year for the 61st Civic Trust Awards.