Archiboo Web Awards 2018 – the winners

20 September, 2018

Although the Archiboo Web Awards are only in their third year, it’s easy to forget just how far some of this year’s winners websites have progressed since their first incarnation.

This is partly because the best architects’ websites must mirror the bigger shifts in how we want information delivered.

In a digital world when time and attention spans are short, web designers have to come up with new and better ways of organising information – beautifully and intuitively – leading to more sophisticated user experiences.

This year a number of innovations caught the judges’ attention.

The first was ‘mobile experience’, a new category this year, where there’s been a noticeable shift to make mobile functionality a focus.

The second is the written content category. The balance between imagery and words has always tipped in favour of the former but words are catching up as architects see the value in a more open and direct approach to storytelling.

The third is capturing and holding users’ attention by creating websites with genuine personality. Some of the most engaging examples took a mixed media approach combining video and still imagery that allows practices to communicate their work in new ways.

The winners are:

Best Homepage

Winner – Trahan Architects

Website by – For Office Use Only

Judges agreed the winning homepage is “a perfect balance of beauty, intrigue, information and functionality”. They particularly liked the mixing of still images and film and the way the introductory text fades away to allow the latter to be fully enjoyed. A simple arrow allows smooth access to the deeper content of the homepage where the tiled, mixed-media approach retains an exploratory feel, yet allowing visitors to quickly access the content they’re looking for.

The Boundary (on behalf of Trahan Architects) with judge Adam Scott ( far right )

Best Use of Innovation

Winner – Uniform

While augmented reality has been a huge buzzword for some time, developers are only just starting to create their own AR apps and features and it’s the former that caught the judges’ eye. While “the project clearly required a lot of work to execute, the judges liked the way “the app allows the user to learn about the planned regeneration project in a playful way and features interesting 3D animations that will appeal to a wide age group”.

Albert Taylor-Williamson with Scott McCubbin, Uniform

Best Offline Experience 


Website by – Lava

The winner has a “fantastic collaborative approach to modular design” which it “bought to life at Milan Design Week”. Judges said this “strategic, smart and slick approach” is a clever way to engage its existing audience “but leaves enough doors open to encourage curious newcomers”. They said “the project was documented exceptionally well through social media throughout build and production”.

UNStudio with judge Sam Bompas (far right)

Best Mobile Experience 

Winner – Bennetts Associates

Website by – Red Box Media

It was the “great use of video” with fast loading speeds making the user experience “very smooth” that won it for Bennetts Associates. Judges also singled out the interactive projects in the ‘technique’ section that they said “show good use of technology”. One judge pointed out that the videos, when selected, stop a previous video from playing which is “very considerate for the user’s battery life”.

Elizabeth Walker, Anthi Tzakou, Julian Lipscombe with judge Del Hossain.

Best Use of Video

Winner – Foster & Partners

Video by – Foster + Partners

Judges were unanimous in their praise of the winner’s entry which they said is “magnificent technically and compositionally” leading one judge to comment that Foster has “brought a gun to a knife fight here” They agreed that “it’s an engaging story well told”, which held their interest.

Naomi James, Katy Harris, Mrinal Rammohan and judge Del Hossain

Best Use of Social Media

Winner – UNStudio

Website by – Lava

UNStudio with judge, Carolyn Larkin (centre).

Judges were struck by the innovative use of different platforms including podcasting and praised the winners for using social media as an experimental tool to convey ideas during the design process, as opposed to an afterthought or for self-promotion. One judge commented that UNStudio’s “use of social media channels to convey office culture as part of the online identity of the practice is also very effective.”

Best Visual Design 

Runner up  – Page\Park

Winner Heatherwick Studio

Website by – Morse Studio and Heatherwick Studio.

Neil Hubbard with Hugh Morse and judge, Will Hunter.

Judges praised Heatherwick Studio’s new website for its “distinctive and confident aesthetic which communicates a message that is recognisably relaxed and original but still good on detail”. The balanced mix of architectural and process focused imagery speaks easily of the studio’s craft centric approach and demonstrates a confident, creative studio at the top of its game.”

Best Use of Digital Imagery

Winner – Trahan Architects.

Imagery  – The Boundary

Steven Man and Aneta Gesiorska from The Boundary with Christian Spencer-Davies (right)

“An excellent range of images that covey both atmosphere and mood and beautifully illustrate the participants full range of skills in this area” said judges who liked the “ great use of technology” which they felt provided a high level of appeal to stakeholders.

Best Written Content

Winner Jamie Fobert Architects

WebsiteBurgess & Beech 

Judge Marcus Fairs with Benna Schellhorn and Laura Sweeney

The judges all agreed that that the winners had a “no nonsense approach with crisp, honest writing”. They said that the ‘the descriptions of the work have a nice, story-telling quality without too much jargon or too many warm words that lack real meaning”. “You feel as though you’ve got inside the heads of the practitioners a bit and it has character”, said one judge while another said the content was ‘well formatted and laid out”.

Best Overall 

Winner – Foster & Partners

Website – AKQA

Foster team, Katy Harris, Gayle Mault, Mrinal Rammohan, Naomi James, Tom Wright and Francis Archer, Arup, second from right.

The judges said Foster & Partners website is “a tour de force in making so much content accessible and easily navigable”. One judge said that “technology is used in a restrained manner that reflects the firm’s design ethos and the projects and information are beautifully presented with a fantastic level of detail. Judges said: “This is a very polished and high quality website, as it should be, and communicates perfectly to the practice’s broad international audience”.

To see the full shortlist and our judges please head over to Archiboo Web Awards