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RIBA Journal Sustainability Award BedZED, Wallington, Surrey

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Stirling Prize 2003

BedZED, designed by Bill Dunster Architects for the Peabody Trust, is a 21st-century take on the English garden city. It is the first attempt in the country to achieve a near 'carbon-neutral' lifestyle - helping the residents to cut all carbon emissions related to their daily lives, whether from personal transport, from bringing their food to their doors or from running their homes. The £15 million project has been described as an exemplar of sustainable housing design and shows the architect's great determination in turning ideas that a few years previously seemed purely theoretical into a constructed project The judges said: 'Sustainability covers a wide range of issues that affect the environmental impact of a building. This year the RIBA Journal Sustainability Award jury was looking for buildings that pushed the sustainable agenda through a step change and took a more radical approach. For this reason, they were unanimous in their decision to award the prize to BedZED solar urban village.

'While other schemes the judges considered were varying shades of green, BedZED goes way beyond the standard environmental checklist by challenging both the way we live and work. The near carbon-neutral lifestyle at BedZED is, of course, only achievable if there are sustainable technologies to support it and people willing to buy into a very different way of life from the one most of us are used to. Until now, pioneering communities have often been attained at the expense of architectural ambition but at BedZED the architects have been highly innovative. Although the development is dense, each unit has its own external space while the flats themselves have very high levels of daylight, making modest space standards appear more generous and airy.

The judges were also impressed by BedZED's long-term goal, which is to see our urban habitat transformed to carbon-neutral mixed-use development by the end of the century. This project is a powerful incentive for the housing industry to change its way of thinking and building.'

Ellis & Moore was the engineer and Gardiner & Theobald Construction Management was the contractor.

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