THE search for the newest jewels in York’s architectural crown is about to get under way for the seventh successive year.

This week will see the launch of the York Design Awards 2013, aimed at encouraging the highest standards for new buildings, public spaces and conservation projects across the city, with a top international architect being the guest of honour.

Since being launched in 2007, the awards have attracted more than 200 entries, 55 of which claimed accolades for excellence. They now include a new category, The Press People’s Award, voted for by the city’s residents.

The launch event and call for entries will be held on Thursday at the Bar Convent, when leading architect Keith Williams will give a talk about good design.

He headed the team choosing the winners of a competition to design a transformation of York’s historic Guildhall and will speak about how cities must embrace modern design ideas rather than simply focusing on past styles.

Former Lord Mayor of York Janet Hopton, who heads the York Design Awards steering group, said: “Despite the tough economic conditions, there is some great work going on in the city and we are hoping for a good response to the 2013 awards programme.

“Like Keith Williams, we believe good design plays a significant role in keeping York special, and we have been delighted by the way those involved in delivering new buildings and preserving old ones have embraced the awards scheme.”

Sponsors for the 2013 awards include York-based S Harrison Developments Ltd, York Civic Trust, City of York Council, York Archaeological Trust and the York Guild of Building.

English Heritage’s former chief conservation architect, David Heath, has joined this year’s judging panel. More information can be found at

The Press People’s Award ran for the first time last year, when we provided a list of 17 buildings or projects which were York Design Awards entrants earlier in the year and asked readers to choose their favourite.

The winner was the refurbished De Grey Rooms. This year, the award will be part of the main awards process.