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NEWS


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Images © Tim Crocker STIRLING PRIZE


Passivhaus council estate in Norwich wins 2019 Stirling Prize


The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has named Goldsmith Street in Norwich, designed by Mikhail Riches with Cathy Hawley, as the winner of the 2019 RIBA Stirling Prize.


Goldsmith Street is comprised of just under 100 ultra low-energy homes for Norwich City Council and is arranged in seven terrace blocks, modelled on the Victorian streets of the city’s nearby ‘Golden Triangle’ district. Rows of two-storey houses are


bookended by three-storey flats, each with their own front door, lobby space for prams and bikes, and a private balcony. The back gardens of the central terraces share a secure ‘ginnel’ (alleyway) for children to play together, and a wide landscaped walkway for communal gatherings runs perpendicularly through the middle of the estate. Parking has been pushed to the outer edges of the development, ensuring that people “own the streets, not their cars.” Goldsmith Street meets rigorous Passivhaus environmental standards – remarkable for a dense, mass housing


development. It is a passive solar scheme, designed to minimise fuel bills for residents (annual energy costs are estimated to be 70 per cent cheaper than the average household). To maximise solar gain, all homes face south and every wall is over 600 mm thick, and the roofs are angled at 15 degrees to ensure each terrace does not block sunlight from homes in the street behind. Even the smallest details have been meticulously considered: letterboxes are built into external porches, rather than the front doors, to reduce any possibility of draughts; and perforated aluminium brise-soleil provide sun shades above the windows and doors. The palette of building materials


references Norwich’s history, such as the glossy black roof pantiles – a nod to the city’s Dutch trading links – and the buildings’ cream-coloured clay bricks, similar to Victorian terraces nearby. To ensure the windows echoed Victorian proportions but also met Passivhaus requirements, the architects developed a recessed feature, giving the impression of a much larger opening but limiting the


amount of glass. Bespoke steel mesh garden gates and brightly coloured front doors give each home a strong sense of individuality and ownership.


The 2019 RIBA Stirling Prize judges, chaired by Julia Barfield, said, “Goldsmith Street is a modest masterpiece. It is high-quality architecture in its purest most environmentally and socially conscious form. Behind restrained creamy facades are impeccably detailed, highly sustainable homes – an incredible achievement for a development of this scale. This is proper social housing, over 10 years in the making, delivered by an ambitious and thoughtful council. These desirable, spacious, low- energy properties should be the norm for all council housing.” RIBA President Alan Jones said, “Faced with a global climate emergency, the worst housing crisis for generations and crippling local authority cuts, Goldsmith Street is a beacon of hope. It is commended not just as a transformative social housing scheme and eco-development, but a pioneering exemplar for other local authorities to follow.”


ADF NOVEMBER 2019 WWW.ARCHITECTSDATAFILE.CO.UK


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