This scheme uses a combination of a tried and tested urban strategy - the three- or four-storey terrace and two-storey mews development - adapted to suit the riverside site and the peculiarities of its geometry. The resultant plan form is a pair of sinuous terraces that enclose food- producing garden spaces but acknowledge that the riverside walk into town is the primary urban link. The riverside terrace is broken by glazed winter gardens which separate the terrace into, effectively, a series of linked semi-detached blocks, and a major break is created where the proposed new footbridge will link to the other side of the river.
The energy efficiency strategy combines superinsulation and high thermal mass with passive solar gains from the winter gardens. The construction of the houses consists of rammed-earth cross walls and pre-cast floors wrapped up in a highly insulated timber frame.
The assessors enjoyed the innovative energy proposals and, while there was some doubt as to whether the circulation of water through the foundations and cross walls would provide useful heat gain, the incorporation of small parapet-mounted wind generators and river flow turbines for electrical production seemed to have more chance of success. While some of the assessors were concerned by the 'continental' flavour of the external appearance, the confident and colourful handling of the riverside elevation was generally admired.