This year, Design Matters National is embracing a significant transformation in our judging process for the 2024 Building Design Awards, which marks a pioneering shift towards greater inclusivity and community engagement. 

“In a departure from previous years, where smaller judging panels were appointed, this year we decided to democratise the process and invited DMN members to throw their hats into the ring. We were thrilled with the enthusiastic response”, Danielle Johnston, DMN CEO, said.  

The call for volunteers was met with an unexpectedly high number of applications—more than 50 showcasing the keen interest of our members to engage directly in the awards' proceedings. From this rich pool of candidates, 24 judges were selected, ensuring a broad representation of the geographical, professional, gender and age diversity within our membership. 

“Our judging panel spans across all states of Australia, including representatives from both rural and metropolitan areas. This diversity extends to gender, with an equitable representation of male and female judges, and experience, with experts from both the commercial and residential sectors. Such a composition ensures that our panel not only mirrors the multifaceted nature of our membership but also brings a comprehensive perspective to the judging process,” Danielle said.  

To qualify as a judge, applicants had to meet rigorous criteria. Each judge is a DMN member who has not served on the judging panel in the previous three years and is not submitting any projects for this year’s awards. These conditions help maintain the integrity of the awards by avoiding any potential conflicts of interest and ensuring an unbiased evaluation of entries. 

The diversity of the judging panel promises a holistic and nuanced assessment of the entries, reflecting the various contexts in which today’s building designs operate. By including judges with both residential and commercial expertise, we ensure that each project is evaluated with a keen understanding of its specific challenges and merits. 

This new approach not only enriches the judging process but also strengthens the sense of ownership and pride among our members. It fosters a more connected and participatory community, enhancing the collective commitment to upholding the highest standards of excellence in building design. 

“The initial phases of the judging process have already demonstrated the positive impact of this new approach. The panel’s enthusiasm and collective expertise have set a constructive and rigorous tone for evaluating this year’s entries. We are delighted with the composition of the panel and confident that their deliberations will ensure a fair and inspiring competition,” Danielle said.  

As the 2024 Awards progress, our anticipation only grows. We are excited not just about uncovering and celebrating outstanding talent in the building design industry but also about the deeper engagement and camaraderie this new judging process fosters within our community. 

The DMN Building Design Awards have evolved to become not just a showcase of the design talent of our members but a highly anticipated celebration of all that makes the DMN community so unique – camaraderie, support, diversity and mutual respect. By involving more members more actively in the judging process, we enhance the relevance and resonance of the awards, fostering a stronger, more inclusive community. 

“We invite everyone to stay connected and participate in this exciting journey. We encourage everyone to save the date for the West Coast winners’ announcement event in Perth on Friday 4 October, and the East Coast and National Awards in Melbourne on Friday 25 October."  

“The 2024 DMN Building Design Awards are shaping up to be the biggest and best yet, highlighting the best in creativity and design across Australia. DMN is committed to celebrating the achievements of our members and we look forward to a future rich with innovative and inspiring building designs,” she said.