Architecture

Green public housing wins UK's top architecture prize

Green public housing wins UK's...
Goldsmith Street has won the 2019 RIBA Stirling Prize
Goldsmith Street has won the 2019 RIBA Stirling Prize
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Goldsmith Street was completed in December, 2018
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Goldsmith Street was completed in December, 2018
Goldsmith Street consists of a total of 105 houses
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Goldsmith Street consists of a total of 105 houses
Goldsmith Street's homes are built to the stringent Passivhaus green building standard, which focuses on insulation and air-tightness to offer a home that is very efficient to heat and cool
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Goldsmith Street's homes are built to the stringent Passivhaus green building standard, which focuses on insulation and air-tightness to offer a home that is very efficient to heat and cool
Goldsmith Street's parking has been relegated to the outer edges, ensuring that it's a pedestrian-friendly space
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Goldsmith Street's parking has been relegated to the outer edges, ensuring that it's a pedestrian-friendly space
Goldsmith Street's black roof tiles nod to the city's longstanding Dutch trading links and its clay bricks are similar to the ones used in the surrounding Victorian homes
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Goldsmith Street's black roof tiles nod to the city's longstanding Dutch trading links and its clay bricks are similar to the ones used in the surrounding Victorian homes
Each of Goldsmith Street's homes, including its apartments, has its own front door
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Each of Goldsmith Street's homes, including its apartments, has its own front door
Goldsmith Street has won the 2019 RIBA Stirling Prize
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Goldsmith Street has won the 2019 RIBA Stirling Prize
Goldsmith Street's homes share a secure alleyway for children to meet and play together
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Goldsmith Street's homes share a secure alleyway for children to meet and play together
Goldsmith Street has areas for communal gatherings
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Goldsmith Street has areas for communal gatherings
"Faced with a global climate emergency, the worst housing crisis for generations and crippling local authority cuts, Goldsmith Street is a beacon of hope," says RIBA President Alan Jones
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"Faced with a global climate emergency, the worst housing crisis for generations and crippling local authority cuts, Goldsmith Street is a beacon of hope," says RIBA President Alan Jones

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced the result of the most important architecture competition in the country. Norwich public housing development Goldsmith Street, by Mikhail Riches with Cathy Hawley, has been declared the 2019 Stirling Prize winner thanks to its energy-efficiency and superb design.

Goldsmith Street consists of 105 homes commissioned by Norwich City Council that are arranged in seven blocks of terraces, echoing nearby Victorian-era homes. Their black roof tiles nod to the city's longstanding Dutch trading links and the clay bricks used are similar to those in the surrounding Victorian homes.

Rows of two-story houses are flanked by three-story apartment buildings, each with their own front door, lobby space for prams and bikes, and a private balcony (alas, no photos are available of the interiors). The rear gardens of the central terraces share a secure alleyway for children to meet and play, and a wide landscaped walkway for communal gatherings runs through the middle of the development. Parking has been pushed to the outer edges, in a bid to create a pedestrian-friendly space.

Goldsmith Street's homes share a secure alleyway for children to meet and play together
Goldsmith Street's homes share a secure alleyway for children to meet and play together

The project is very energy-efficient and meets the stringent Passivhaus green building standard, which focuses on air-tightness and excellent insulation. All homes are built ro maximize solar gain and each wall is over 600 mm (23 in) thick. The roofs are angled at 15 degrees to ensure the homes don't block the available sunlight for those in the street behind, and perforated aluminum screens are also installed to shade the windows and doors.

Impressively, RIBA says that the homes' energy costs are estimated to be 70 percent cheaper annually than the average British household.

"Faced with a global climate emergency, the worst housing crisis for generations and crippling local authority cuts, Goldsmith Street is a beacon of hope," says RIBA President Alan Jones. "It is commended not just as a transformative social housing scheme and eco-development, but a pioneering exemplar for other local authorities to follow."

Source: RIBA

5 comments
Matt Fletcher
Probably the ugliest development I've ever seen. microscopic backyard space, few parking spaces, narrow streets, and lacks any decorative detail except log pigs in the common grounds. I understand it's extremely crowded in Norwich City and tight on space, but that's because of the beautiful architecture. Keep building eye sores like this and no one will want to live there.
paul314
That 70 percent drop in energy costs is a big deal for the people who will be living there. That's likely hundreds of pounds a year they can save or put into other projects.
ljaques
I like the whitish brickery. With the gardens just across the walk, the dwellers could toss veggies back and forth to share during the summer. 70% lower utility use is admirable. BUT...Sorry, Alan. When your "global climate emergency" hits, most of the UK is going to be underwater. Well, according to your people, anyway. ;) Toodles!
ReservoirPup
"wall is over 600 mm (23 in) thick" - it matters how much of that is insulation and what sort, if energy efficiency is a concern;))
Wombat56
" . . . a secure alleyway for children to meet and play together" and do drug deals. ;-)