Design award schemes seek to promote innovative and new design practice while awarding best practice in particular areas. Award scheme are useful communication tools to stimulate debate about various design, A number of award schemes are presented below as a resource for considering design methodologies and design solutions. They focus to varying degrees on Universal Design and utilise a range of criteria and evaluation methodologies.
Some award schemes have a specific focus on accessibility for people with disabilities while most aim to encourage design solutions that are have advantages for a wide range of users.
National award shcemes
Awards schemes with a Universal Design component
- Organisation: Institute of Designers in Ireland (IDI), Ireland.
- Competition open to: All designers working in Ireland who are providing professional design services.
The award for the "Universal Design" category is presented to the entrant who best meets the criteria set by the Centre for Excellence in Universal Design at the National Disability Authority.
National accessibility awards schemes
- Organisation: National Disability Authority (NDA), Ireland.
- Competition open to: Public bodies in Ireland.
The Excellence through Accessibility seeks to promote and reward a clear focus on and commitment to continuous improvement in accessibility of public services at all levels in participating organisations. To do this, the award encourages the development of policies, practices and relationships to ensure that achievements in accessibility are sustainable and meaningful to customers.
The Excellence through Accessibility award scheme acknowledges those Departments and Agencies under their remit that have taken steps to make their services more accessible. Through the Award, the National Disability Authority (NDA) hopes to support the achievement of maximum accessibility of public services for people with disabilities in Ireland.
- Organisation: Rehab Enterprises Ltd. and Excellence Ireland Quality Association.
- Competition open to: Private sector companies of all sizes in Ireland.
The Able Business Excellence Award promotes best practice in the employment and inclusion of people with disabilities. Examining all aspects of employment, the awards recognise progressive attitudes, in those organisations that see disability and diversity as a corporate asset and key to success. The Awards celebrate organisations and their business leaders that are successfully working with people with disabilities, rewarding professional excellence in this particular area of people-management. The Awards provide an environment for learning and continuous improvement.
This award scheme will be a key tool for businesses to demonstrate their commitment and achievement as employers of and providers of services to people with disabilities in Ireland. It is a mark of quality and distinction, and is backed by Rehab Group, the largest disability organisation in the country and EIQA, the national quality association.
The award scheme is open to , and a comprehensive assessment is provided leading to the award of a national standard. Awards are valid for a period of two years from date of receipt.
International award shcemes
Awards schemes with a Universal Design component
- Organisation: universal design e.V. in partnership with International Forum Design (iF Design), Germany.
- Competition open to: Architects, interior designers, product designers, graphic designers, service providers and service designers worldwide.
The Hannover-based universal design association and iF (International Forum Design GmbH) held the first "universal design award" in February 2008. The first international universal design award consciously includes both a professional jury and a consumer rating.
View some of the 2008 Universal Design Award Winners on this site.
- Organisation: The Schindler Group, Switzerland.
- Competition open to: European Architecture students.
Focussing on architecture and city planning, The Schindler Award encourages future architects to integrate an "Access for All" philosophy into their thinking and to develop ways of improving access in their designs. The Schindler Award sets students and schools the challenge of finding new solutions to create a better-designed world.
- Organisation: Design Business Association (DBA), The Helen Hamlyn Centre, and the Royal College of Art (RCA), UK.
- Competition open to: Clients, worldwide, enter jointly with design consultancies or with their own company design teams.
"The challenge illustrates the key role design can play in improving the quality of life for older people and people with disabilities and will inspire and motivate your team in a way that can seldom be achieved through commercial projects. The design challenge sees teams of DBA Members paired with young disabled users or special user groups in order to create a product or service that meets the needs of the widest range of consumers, where function and form are indivisible and with resulting appeal to niche and mainstream markets. In short, inclusive design at the cutting edge of innovation."
- Organisation: Building and Construction Authority (BCA) and Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA), Singapore.
- Competition open to: Buildings in Singapore.
The Award, organized by BCA jointly with the Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA) and the Handicaps Welfare Association, rates buildings on six criteria: equitable use, friendliness, facilities, connectivity to public facilities, protection and safety, and aesthetics.
The objectives of the award are to recognize qualified persons, designers, developers and building owners for initiatives and efforts in creating a built environment that could be used by people of different ages and abilities; and to promote good practices and raise awareness of the importance of providing suitable facilities, not only within the building itself, but also outside the building, so that continuous and seamless barrier-free accessibility from building to building and to infra-structure is possible for people of different ages and abilities.
- Organisation: Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE), UK
- Competition open to: RIBA members worldwide.
The RIBA CABE Inclusive Design Award celebrates inclusivity in building design, and demonstrates that good design results in environments that are safe, convenient and enjoyable to use by people, regardless of disability, age or gender.
- Organisation: Trace Research & Development Center
- Competition open to: Candidates are nominated by peers.
In 2000, the Trace Center launched this award to honour such people and their contributions to the field of technology and disability. Named for the first recipient, Dr. Harry J. Murphy, the award is presented at the CSUN Conference on Technology and Persons with Disabilities. This annual conference, which Dr. Murphy founded, has become pre-eminent in its field, and a meeting place for people from around the world who are interested in using technology to improve the lives of people with disabilities.
- Organisation: National Organization on Disability (NOD), USA.
- Competition open to: All USA cities and towns.
Accessible America is a $25,000 award competition open to all cities and towns across the nation. Its purpose is to identify best practice and promote participation of citizens with disabilities in community life.
Related award schemes
- Organisation: The Awards are managed by a non profit making UK Registered Company Limited by Guarantee 'The International Awards for Liveable Communities', which is also a UK Registered Charity.
- Competition open to: Cities, projects, professionals and students worldwide.
The LivCom Awards, launched in 1997, are endorsed by the United Nations Environment Programme. According to LivCom, they offer the world's only awards competition that focuses on best practice in management of the local environment. The objective of LivCom is to improve the quality of life of individual citizens through the creation of 'liveable communities'.
LivCom is non-political, embracing all nations and cultures, and over 50 countries are represented within the awards. Categories include whole cities, projects, bursaries for students, and individual awards.