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Best New or Refurbished Building or Facility (revised)

Connecting people to places is a key factor in maintaining engagement and generating a thriving life on campus. Well-designed facilities and hubs for students require a delicate balance of user needs, aesthetics, sustainability considerations, and budget.

Getting all this right is critical to maximising user satisfaction and creating a sense of place and support for our students and campus communities.

Many areas of campus life have been affected over the past few years. Disruptions to on-campus services and learning formats have challenged us to continually adapt and evolve the way we use and design our campus buildings and facilities.

Excellence in a new or refurbished building or facility will showcase creativity and adaptability to these ever-changing campus trends. It will demonstrate thoughtful evaluation and adoption of techniques most suitable for its design, development, and execution. It will also feature evidence of best practice sustainability features and material choices that deliver energy and water efficiency, protection of indoor air quality, and a reduction in resource impacts. A sympathetic view or creative juxtaposition to existing University architectural styles will be highlighted, incorporating visual appeal and cost-effectiveness.  Lastly, it will boast tangible evidence of meeting visitor needs and improving the user experience via considerations of its form, function, and accessibility. Student input in the design is a welcomed bonus.

This award celebrates excellence in New or Refurbished Buildings or Facilities, where works were completed and the space operational during the 2022/23 calendar years.

Examples can include but are not limited to: a new or improved design of student hubs, commercial outlets, residential or accommodation services, food courts or takeaway hubs, bike hubs, clubs rooms etc.

The Jury will be looking for entries that demonstrate excellence in the following:

  • Astute recognition of the need for the Project 
  • Good adaptability to the changing market 
  • Tangible and measurable goals and objectives
  • Evidence of strong strategic planning
  • Creative techniques used to deliver your desired outcomes 
  • Effective use of resources (teams, students, partners, materials, funds, assets) 
  • Inclusivity, accessibility, and sustainability considerations
  • The quality of the Refurb or Build, its design, and functionality 
  • Campus community and/or customer engagement and experience factors 
  • Evidence of success and positive outcomes with measurable results 
  • Innovation, leadership, and recognition* (applies to ‘Best of the Year’ submissions only)
It’s back for October… win a studio recording session!
BEST of the YEAR 2022 - UCSA 'Shilling Club Refurbishment'

Award Submission Criteria

Submissions need to address the following criteria:

  • Name of organisation
  • Organisation logo
  • Name and contact details of the person completing the submission
  • Full-time student load (total student enrolments)
  • Name of building, if relevant

This category of the SEN Awards has two levels of recognition – ‘Award of Distinction’ and ‘Best of the Year’.

For your submission to be considered for an ‘Award of Distinction’ you will be required to complete the first 3 sets of criteria PLUS provide supporting evidence.

For your submission to be considered for the ‘Best of the Year’ Award you will be required to complete all of the ‘Award of Distinction’ requirements, PLUS the additional innovation and leadership criteria.

Tell us the WHY of your Project.

  • What was the reason for the Project?
  • What were you aiming for and why?
  • What were the goals and objectives you were hoping to achieve?

Tell us the HOW of your program.

  • What key strategies were identified and used to deliver on the goals and objectives of your project? Were you required to meet existing University architectural briefs?
  • What creative techniques, design elements, and effective use of resources, including budget were applied? Was there student input and if so in what capacity? Did you engage with any external partnerships and if so, what was their input?
  • How did you ensure your project was inclusive, accessible, and sustainable? You can reference details such as: inclusivity/accessibility factors, use of environmental and sustainable materials/products, use of social/fair-trade/local suppliers, waste reduction factors, improved functionality, and accessibility features, etc.


  • What was the outcome of your project?
  • Which of your goals and objectives did you achieve?
  • What was the overall impact of your project on student engagement and the campus community experience?
  • How have you determined the Projects success? What were the tangible positive impacts on your organisation and students?
  • The financial results of your project

This section may be used to support your submission by providing evidence of your claims, it is not a substitute or an additional opportunity for answering the criteria in your submission.

The quality of your supporting documents will be measured against the rubric.

Relevant examples will include documentation that adds value and validation to your submission which could include links to:

  • Before and after comparative data (quantitative & qualitative)
  • Hero photos that capture the success of the Project
  • P&L or other financial support documents
  • Project website or page feature
  • Project social media campaigns
  • Project video files
  • Project PR or media
  • Storyboards or design drawings
  • Feedback forms
  • Written articles
  • Evidence of innovation, leadership, and formal recognition* (applies to ‘Best of the Year’ submissions only)

You can collate supporting documents into a word doc to minimise the number of your uploads.

To progress your submission for consideration at the ‘Best of the Year’ level, you will be required to complete the following criteria. 

  • How was your project innovative?
  • What stands out as completely different from other infrastructure projects you have created or seen before?
  • What did you incorporate in your project that was innovative and had not been considered or factored into any other building projects on your campus before?
  • What planning, design, and execution techniques do you consider as innovative?
  • How does this Project provide meaningful and significant leadership outcomes for your organisation, the student experience on your campus, and/or within the sector?
  • How has this Project gone over and above in addressing and delivering on an identified need within your organisation?
  • How is the Project positively influencing other organisations in the sector?
  • How is the Project replicable and are you offering support to develop similar projects at other organisations?
  • Have you received official recognition for your project within your own organisation, within the sector, or broader industry fields?

Each category has a rubric that will be used as a scoring guide by the Awards Jury Panel against criteria responses in your submission.

Please note:

  • Criteria Responses that are a direct copy and paste from previous criteria fields in the same category submission will be marked as Basic.
  • Submissions that do not provide supporting evidence of the stated claims will be marked as Basic.
  • In the event of multiple applications achieving equal scores, the award decision is at the discretion of the Awards Jury Panel.
  • In order to be eligible to win ‘Best of the Year’, your application will need to achieve a score of at least 13 out of 15.
  • Applications submitting for ‘Best of the Year’ that do not meet the higher score ranking required to win can also be considered for an ‘Award of Distinction’ at the judge’s discretion.

Category-specific rubrics will be available to download on the submission page of each category. 

Click HERE to see an example.