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First Prize (£5,000) - ECD ArchitectsNigel Craddock and Lynne Sullivan

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This scheme makes optimal use of a riverside site by constructing four six-storey 'turret' blocks along the edge of the river, with two- storey terraces elsewhere. Taller buildings in this location create little overshadowing, and ensure that a substantial proportion of the inside of the site can be released for productive landscape use. The proposal achieved a density of 240 habitable rooms per hectare, partly by the use of high-rise buildings and partly by restricting car access to the eastern edge of the site. Garage spaces have top lighting and could be used as workspaces. Electric car uses and the use of river transportation is encouraged.

The energy strategy is to combine the super-insulated and air-tight timber frame construction, passive solar design and passive stack ventilation in order to reduce heat losses, then satisfy as much as possible of the energy demand from renewable resources. The principal resource of renewable energy is an on-site, grid-linked 30 - 40kw combined heat and power (CHP) plant fuelled from air-dried wood chips produced by short rotation coppicing of willow and poplar on local agricultural set-aside land. The authors have calculated the amount of land required (15 hectares each producing 12 dried tonnes of fuel per year) and checked that this much set-aside land is available in the Newark area. Fuel is to be chipped and dried on the growing sites and delivered by river to short-term storage facilities on the housing site itself. The CHP plant is sized to match the electrical load of the scheme, but additional electrical power of heating pumps etc is provided by rooftop PVs.

While there was some concern over the complexity and over-articulation of the architecture, the very successful urban strategy and comprehensive energy analysis made this an undisputed winner.

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