Format & Post-Competition

Competitors should note that the competition is a call for design ideas. There is no commitment to realise any of the proposals arising from the competition. However, it is hoped that others may adopt the ideas submitted. By bringing better inclusive designs to public attention, they may also help to influence future regulatory standards.

Competition Promoter

The design competition is sponsored by Bespoke Hotels Group, which has a number of industry partners and supporters.

Organisation & Enquiries

The competition is administered by RIBA Competitions. Queries relating to the competition should be directed in the first instance to:

RIBA Competitions
1, Aire Street
Leeds LS1 4PR
United Kingdom
+44 (0)113 203 1490

Neither the Promoters nor any judge or adviser to the competition should be solicited for information, as this may lead to disqualification.

The role of RIBA Competitions is limited to administration.


The competition is open internationally to individuals, groups and design professionals. The competition organisers particularly welcome entries from designers and architects with disabilities. Collaboration between people with disabilities and design professionals is also encouraged, as is collaboration amongst design disciplines. There is no age limit.

Judging Panel

The Judging Panel which may be subject to change:

Panel Member Affiliation
Robin Sheppard
Chairman, Bespoke Hotels
Celia, Baroness Thomas of Winchester House of Lords
Alan Stanton OBE Architect, 2012 Stirling Prize Winner
Tanni, Baroness Grey-Thompson Paralympic Gold Medallist; House of Lords
Architecture/design construction industry professional adviser
Rory Coonan
RIBA Fellow. Director of Architecture at the Arts council of Great Britain (1992-97), Creator of Design for Care (2015)
Product/service design adviser
David Day Senior Designer, Seymour Powell

Additional judges may be announced in due course and the judging panel may change. In the event of a Panel member being unable to continue to act for any reason, an alternative person will be appointed.


The programme, which may vary, is as follows.

Competition Launch 14 April 2016
Deadline to raise questions 2 June 2016
Memorandum issued in response to questions w/c 20 June 2016
Deadline for submission of design proposals 1 September 2016 at 14:00hrs BST
Selection of long-listed entries w/c 26 September 2016
Exhibition of long-listed entries October 2016
Selection of Prize winner(s) November 2016
Announcement of result at the House of Lords 1 December 2016


Questions relating to the Competition Brief and Conditions should be submitted to RIBA Competitions [] before 1700hrs [BST] on 2 June 2016. Replies to questions raised will be circulated to all registered competitors during week commencing 20 June 2016. This Memorandum will form part of the Competition Brief. Oral questions will not be accepted.

Selection Criteria & Prize Fund

The following criteria will be applied to entries:

  • Creativity, originality and impact of the proposals
  • Evidence of engagement with ‘service users’, including disabled people
  • Capability of future development and adoption by the hotel industry
  • Clarity of communication

The weight given to each criterion will be at the judges’ discretion. A sub-set of the Panel (with advisers) will be responsible for undertaking an initial appraisal and selection of long-listed submissions. In selecting the winner(s), the Panel will take into account feedback arising from an exhibition of the long-listed submissions.

A Prize Fund of £30,000 will be available at the discretion of the judges, with an overall winner to be awarded the Celia Thomas Prize of £20,000. The Judges reserve the right not to award prizes if in their opinion none of the competitors meets an acceptable design standard nor satisfies the objectives of the competition.

Anonymity - Unique Registration Number & Declaration of Authorship

All submissions will be judged anonymously, via use of the Unique Registration Number [URN] and Declaration of Authorship form issued at the time of Registration. The URN should be prominently displayed / incorporated within each element of the design submission.


Submissions shall be excluded from the Competition:

  • If a Competitor discloses his or her identity, or improperly attempts to influence the decision;
  • If the submission has identifying marks [including logos, text, insignia, or images that could be used to identify the submission's authors].
  • If received after the latest time stated under Submission Instruction;
  • If, in the opinion of the Judging Panel, it does not fulfil the requirements of the Competition Brief or if any of the Conditions are disregarded.

Submission requirements

The competition language is English. Competitors are required to submit anonymous design proposals in electronic format, as summarised in the Table below and Section 11.1 through to Section 11.4. For a return to be valid, the submission must be received by the deadline stated under Submission Instruction.

RefItemTo be submitted via RIBA Competitions digital submission portal
11.1Proposal Ideas
up to 5x No. A3 sheets in landscape format plus one additional A3 sheet listing practical proposals for future development (see below)
PDF version of each sheet
(each sheet <5Mb file size)
11.2Optional supporting information
1x No. additional visualisation, audio file or video clip (of maximum 2 minute duration).
In readily available format that does not require specialist computer software or hardware. File size to be <25Mb.
11.3Representative publicity images
2x No. summary images of the entry submitted
JPEG format, 72dpi
11.4Declaration of Authorship Form
Completed and signed
PDF format


Competitors are required to outline their design ideas on up to x5 No. A3 colour sheets in landscape format. The A3 sheets should be illustrated succinctly. The purpose is to enable Panel members to understand the essence of the idea, concept, approach or proposed service improvement. Concept sketches, graphics, plans, or three-dimensional visualisations should be provided as appropriate, together with explanatory notes if necessary. The sheets could form a narrative sequence.

One [1 No] A3 ADDITIONAL sheet should propose in landscape format how the concepts submitted could be developed in future. For example, requirements for more detailed design development could be listed, along with an assessment of the likely investment required, together with an account of the professional skills that may be needed to turn entrants’ ideas into a viable and investable design, concept, product or service.

The Unique Registration Number (URN) should be prominently displayed on the front face of each page in the top right hand corner, together with design theme (Architecture, Product Design, Service Design or combinations thereof) and sheet number (1 of 6). The layout should be presented such that the proposals are legible when printed at A3 size or viewed on-screen. Each A3 sheet should be contained within a PDF file of <5mb – total of <25Mb.

Applicants should note that initial appraisal of ideas submitted will be undertaken on the basis of the A3 sheets unless a preference is stated for another format (eg audio file or video clip – see below). Disabled entrants who use assistive technologies not specified in this document should contact RIBA exhibitions for advice.

Optional supporting information

Competitors may also submit 1 No. visualisation, video clip or audio file. These should be submitted in a format that does not require specialist computer software or hardware. The video clip or audio file should be a maximum of 2 minutes and no larger than 25Mb.

Representative publicity images

Applicants should select up to two summary images for potential future use in the media and the potential on-line gallery of competition entries. The images should be representative of the ideas proposed and be readily identifiable as such. Each image should be submitted in JPEG format and have a resolution of 72dpi. Long-listed competitors will be asked to provide high resolution versions of these images for use at a public exhibition.

Declaration of Authorship form

The submission must be accompanied by a Declaration of Authorship. The form should be completed with the URN entered in the box provided. Each Competitor must satisfy the Competition organisers that the submitted design is an original piece of work [prepared for the express purposes of the Competition], and that he/she is the author of the design proposals he/she has submitted.

Submission of the Declaration of Authorship form acknowledges authorship of the design ideas, and by signing it, Competitors accept all conditions pertaining to the competition and agree to abide by the decision of the judges. The name[s] inserted on the Declaration Form will be used in all press releases.

No material other than that listed above will be accepted.

The total upload limit for all elements is 60Mb.

Submission instruction

Items 11.1 to 11.4 of the submission requirements must be submitted via RIBA Competitions' digital submission portal. All required elements of the submission must be received by the stated deadline. File names should consist of the Unique Registration Number, design theme (Architecture, Product Design or Service Design or combinations of these categories), item description and file extension, for example:

⦁ URN#_Architecture_Sheet1.pdf

⦁ URN#_Architecture_Image1_LowRes.jpg

⦁ URN#_Architecture_Declaration Form.pdf

A unique link for this purpose will be e-mailed to the contact e-mail address provided at the time of registration. Competitors are strongly advised to familiarise themselves with the digital submission portal and allow sufficient time for their entry to successfully upload prior to the submission deadline. RIBA Competitions will not be responsible for any files that are delayed, corrupted, or otherwise damaged or lost during transmission. The portal will not accept any material to upload once the submission deadline has expired.

Submission Deadline: 14.00hrs (BST), 1 September 2016. Late submissions will be rejected, except where the Competition Organisers (at their sole discretion) believe that there are exceptional circumstances.

Notification of Result & Publicity

The Competition results will be published after notification has been given to all participating Competitors. Please note that any requests for feedback should be submitted to RIBA Competitions within one calendar month of a longlist, or a result being announced.

In it anticipated that The Celia Thomas Prize and other prizes will be awarded at a ceremony at the House of Lords in the Palace of Westminster, London, UK, on a date to mark International day of persons with disabilities.

Competitors will be expected to honour a confidentiality agreement and must not release their designs for publication, or identify themselves to any third parties until after an official announcement has been made, anonymity and/or any related embargoes have been lifted.

RIBA Competitions and Bespoke reserve the right to publicise the Competition, any design submission, and the result in any way or medium they consider fit for an unlimited period. Illustrations of any design - either separately, or together with other designs, with or without explanatory text - may be used without cost. Entries may also be used to promote successive Bespoke Access Awards. Once anonymity has been lifted, authors will be credited and recognised in all associated media and publicity.


The ownership of copyright will be in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. Copyright vests in the authors of entries submitted or, where this is different, the owners of the Intellectual property. The laws of England and Wales govern the administration of the Bespoke Access Awards.