The Norwich development described as a "modest masterpiece" and this week awarded the RIBA Stirling prize for architecture, has really caught our eye. The development at Goldsmith Street provides 105 council homes, one of the first council housing projects in a generation. As well as the provision of social housing with secure tenancies and fixed social rents, this high-quality development also meets high environmental standards. Through various features from the roof pitch to the location of letter boxes, energy costs are reported to be 70% lower than average.
The awarding of this prestigious prize, over and above more prestigious projects, demonstrates just how highly thought of the design of this development is. As well as the carefully considered layout of the terraces and appearance of the dwellings, there is a clear social drive to the project too. Features such as communal seating and parking located to the edge of the street help build a sense of community, encouraging residents to meet together outside of their homes.
We would hope to see some of the unique features and considered design of this prize winning project being adopted into the affordable homes provision that many new housing developments are obliged to provide. Rather than sticking bland houses and flats in an out of the way corner, more inspired design of affordable homes and their integration into the development as a whole could see benefits both in the overall design of the project and for the community that will live there.
The Goldsmith Street development was designed by Michail Riches.