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AJ100 Sustainable Practice of the Year

Winner: Paul Davis + Partners - This award is for a practice’s outstanding commitment to sustainable design, based on evidence of exemplar built work, research, commitment to building performance monitoring and other initiatives

The criteria for this award are:

  • Exemplar sustainable building(s), research or other initiative within the calendar year
  • Portfolio and pipeline of work demonstrating ongoing commitment to sustainable design
  • Evidence of commitment to building performance monitoring.

Practices are asked to submit three projects or research initiatives, completed or in progress during the calendar year. Almost 70 AJ100 practices submitted for the award this year, a significant jump from prior years. A similar number now have a designated individual responsible for sustainability.

Though it is encouraging to see more practices competing in this category, most of the practices were shortlisted for a particular project or piece of work. The jury deliberated at length to find a practice consistently delivering sustainability across the board backed by quality design. This year’s winner stands out for beginning to drive sustainable design thinking throughout the practice.

Winner Paul Davis + Partners first came on my radar screen in 2010 for their proposed CSH 5 housing for Imperial College. The practice surfaced again as the winners of an anonymous competition to design 70 CSH Level 5 homes in Carryduff. near Belfast. Currently on site, the scheme responds to its undulating topography by creating a variety of outdoor spaces, while simulataneously orienting all roofs to 29 degrees south to optimise solar potential.  The practice’s commitment to getting to grips with eco-refurbishment is evident in its Retrofit for the Future project which upgraded a Victorian terraced house in Holland Park to Passivhaus standard.  Shortlisted in the BRE’s recent Passivhaus competition, Paul Davis + Parners benefits from knowledge-sharing and collaboration with in-house environmental consultancy, Eight Associates. 

Commendation Stride Treglown is recognized for their own BREEAM Outstanding offices in Cardiff completed last year.  Delivered for  £1,660m2, the practice was keen to demonstrate that sustainable office space can be affordable.  In August 2011, Stride Treglown  invested an additional £60,000  to install  106m² of PVs on the roof, making the building  carbon neutral in terms of operational energy and achieving an EPC A+ rating. Monitoring is ongoing.  A One Planet Living action list, the output of a practice-wide sustainability day, includes a review of purchasing policy, creation of an allotment at the Bristol office, and the introductions of beehives.

Commendation The jury recognised ScottBrownRigg’s recently completed Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery in  Woolwich as an exemplar integrated design project.  Solar chimneys provide natural stack ventilation to the stables which accommodate 170 horses.. Fuel pellets for the biomass boilers have been created from horse manure and bedding  to produce sufficient biofuel to meet the project’s annual demand. In the pipeline is a new 3500m² headquarters for the Centre for Agricultural Bioscience International (CABI) in Oxfordshire, targeting BREEAM Outstanding through a passive design first approach. The practice committed to use BSRIA Soft Landings at competition stage.

Shortlist Penoyre & Prasad is recognized for projects in the pipeline, including the overcladding of Guy’s Hospital Tower  and Crouch Hill Community Park, as well as performance monitoring work in association with Oxford Brookes. A practice to watch.  

Shortlist This was a good year for PRP Architects’ dedicated environmental team whose projects include an update of the Zero Carbon Compendium, the development of green building standards for Columbia for the International Finance Corporation and the World Bank, and a strategy for mass implementation of low carbon retrofit of existing housing for the Energy Technologies Institute.

Shortlist Already well-known to AJ Footprint readers, Aedas’ Research & Development unit is commended for its commitment to building performance evaluation work with thirteen projects monitored this year, in addition to ongoing support of CarbonBuzz, the RIBA/CIBSE online platform for building performance data.


Hattie Hartman, sustainability editor, The Architects’ Journal
Doug King, King Shaw Associates
Alan Shingler, head of sustainability, Sheppard Robson

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