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Highly Commended (£1,000) - Howarth Tomkins Oliver Bulleid

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This radical proposal is for 67 houses and flats in factory prefabricated short terraces of timber panel construction suspended from trees, planted on the site in order to help clear any ground contamination. The authors calculate that it would require 15 years for the poplar trees to reach sufficient maturity for them to become usable for structural purposes, but surprisingly do not take into account the CO2 absorption over the 15-year period as part of the overall calculations of carbon balance at the site. The scheme stood out for its originality and, although it would fail against many pragmatic criteria, the assessors admired the level of detail to which the idea had been pursued. If the tree house idea was an inspiration, then the idea of lifting all the houses off the ground to provide an uninterrupted landscape created a surreal and intriguingly new form of urban landscape.

The compact plans and highly insulated construction ensure reduced space heating demand. The required heating is provided by a bio-mass fired district heating system supplemented by gas-fired CHP.

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