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WINNER FOR BEST LARGE HOUSING DEVELOPMENT

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NHBDA / JUDGES REPORT

GUNWHARF Architect: Lacey Hickie Caley Housebuilder: Midas Homes Landscape architect: Claire Foxford Affordable terraced housing has come a long way since Ena Sharples clattered down gloomy Coronation Street.

Gunwharf, a quirky brownfield development in the heart of Devonport, Plymouth, is proof that cost effectiveness and quality architecture are not mutually exclusive goals.

Strikingly contemporary in design and layout, the seaside terraces were heralded by the judges as a hope for future large-scale housing and a brave departure from the soulless streetscapes that have come to define volume estates.

Gunwharf comprises 99 low-rise homes - 35 for sale, 46 rented and 19 shared occupancy - replacing an architectural hotchpotch of cheap post-war housing, built for Plymouth's dockyard workers.

The panel was captivated by the colourful canvas of stone, render and timber cladding, complemented by slate roofs, copper canopies and bold paintwork. The end product, said the judges, is an individual inner-city housing scheme that exudes personality and charm.

Public spaces have clearly been designed with the pedestrian in mind and are emphasised by gentle slopes, uninterrupted street visibility and a strict 10mph speed restriction on traffic. Declaring the pedestrian king over the car was an obvious yet audacious strategy, announced the judges, glaringly absent from most high-density schemes.

Gunwharf's street network, inspired by classic town planning, converges on a Neo-Georgian circus or 'green lung' serving as a distinctive car-free focus for the neighbourhood.

A landscaped waterfront and pier, meanwhile, creates an informal pedestrian gateway to the development.

This is a joyfully radical solution to affordable housing, agreed the judges. The 'progressive yet practical' replacement scheme represents a high-quality and, crucially, safe environment that serves as an elegant beacon for future large-scale projects.

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