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RIBA introduces prize for elderly housing

Darwin Court,  Southwark
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The RIBA is introducing a new category in the 2010 Housing Design Awards in a bid to get architects thinking about innovative homes for the elderly

The announcement, backed by the National House-Building Council and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), follows the publication of the Housing our Ageing Population: Panel for Innovation (HAPPI) report this week.

The document calls for the government to invest in housing for the elderly, freeing up larger homes for young families.

‘No one realises the scale of the agenda,’ said HAPPI project manager Kevin McGeough, who is senior policy manager at the HCA. ‘Architects need to think about it as providing a product that’s not currently on the market and developers need to […] get good architects on board.’

Chair of HAPPI, Richard Best told the AJ: ‘Homes need to be attractive for older people so they want to move, so architecture is key to achieving change.’

The report estimates that 7 million people will use such homes over the next 20 years.

Practices have welcomed the move. Matthew Barac, senior architect at Pollard Thomas Edwards Architects, said: ‘It’s a bit embarrassing, really. It points out that our European counterparts have been doing it much better. We need to play catch-up.’

Tony Pidgley, chairman of housebuilding giant Berkeley Group, admitted that only a few schemes currently fit the report’s criteria, but said he would incorporate more detailed design briefs into larger developments

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Readers' comments (1)

  • The Housing Design Awards are governmental awards run in association with the professional institutions including RIBA. So it is the departments of Communities and Local Government and Health which are jointly proposing the new award for homes that suit the over 55s. RIBA will be providing two of 12 judges who will visit the examples. The award open for entries in the first week of 2010 - Housing Design Awards rapporteur David Birkbeck

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