An energy-efficient housing project in Norwich has won the Royal Institute of British Architects’ (RIBA) 2019 Stirling Prize for architecture.
The prestigious accolade aims to celebrate the UK’s best new building – this year Goldsmith Street by Mikhail Riches and Cathy Hawley was crowned the winner.
The project, which was built for Norwich City Council, is made up of almost 100 highly energy-efficient homes that meet rigorous Passivhaus standards.
RIBA says this level of efficiency is “remarkable” for a dense, mass housing development.
The development’s design pushes vehicles to its outer edges to pedestrianise the area and improve air quality, while features such as letterboxes built into external porches and perforated aluminium sunshades help keep internal temperatures as steady as possible.
The passive solar design reduces annual energy costs by up to 70% compared to the average UK household by using the windows, walls, and floors to collect, store, reflect and distribute heat, depending on the time of day or season.
The RIBA judges said: “Goldsmith Street is a modest masterpiece. It is high-quality architecture in its purest, most environmentally and socially conscious form. Behind restrained creamy façades are impeccably-detailed, highly sustainable homes – an incredible achievement for a development of this scale.
“This is proper social housing, over ten 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.”