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Urban Salon wins housing contest

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Urban Salon has won the high-profile competition to design an affordable housing scheme in Bermondsey Square, south London.

Launched last year, the contest was run and judged by the Architecture Foundation (AF), together with the Igloo Regeneration Fund and developers Urban Catalyst, who are masterminding a £36 million renaissance of the area.

The London-based practice beat off tough competition from 63 entries, including designs by Block Architecture Ltd, FAT, S333, Urban Salon and William Russell Architecture and Design.

It is hoped the new scheme, which will form part of the AF's Home Project, will become an 'exemplar in the provision of affordable housing' and it is expected to be completed before the end of 2007.

Rowan Moore, director of the Architecture Foundation, and chair of the jury, said: 'We wanted to bring fresh thinking to the concept of 'quality' in new housing.

'The response in the entries we received, and especially from the short-listed practices, went beyond our expectations. We eventually chose Urban Salon because they combined tangible benefits, such as space and view, with playful design and an understanding of the locality.'

Urban Salon's concept scheme will create a number of large, south-facing flats, each with opening double-glazed windows and terraces to 'ensure maximum views, sunlight and natural ventilation'.

Initial designs also include a graphic facade on the north and west elevations made of coloured photographic laminate panels that will reflect the local buildings; 'enlivening the local streetscape and creating a landmark for Bermondsey.'

by Richard Waite

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