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winner: Piercy Conner

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Velux Lifetime Housing Design competition

There were 77 entries to this year's velux Lifetime Housing Design competition, investigating new and more flexible ways of living. Seen above are the winners, Richard Conner (left) and Stuart Piercy (centre) with aj editor Paul Finch.

The judges were chaired by Duncan Stewart, an independent Irish architect, lecturer and television presenter. The other judges were John Wheelhouse, technical sales manager of Circle Thirty Three Housing Trust; Tom Jones, chief architect of Bryant Homes; Robert MacFarlane, chairman of Torwood Homes; Ian Hornby, housing design manager with Redrow Homes; Mick Noble, managing director of Stamford Homes; Arne Brandt, chief architect of The velux Company; and, David Holland, director of development at Northern Counties Housing Association.

An exhibition of the entries runs at the riba Architecture Gallery until 6 August.

Piercy Conner's 'flo house' is designed to respond to changing patterns of urban living, in contrast to the inflexibility of cellular housing. It has two distinct faces, a facade that responds to the urban street and a transparent elevation facing a secure community garden. It is arranged over two floors, with three double-bed study units, a studio and roof terrace. The lower floor has a shower room and wc, and garden access.

The flexible floor plan allows different configurations of bedrooms, study rooms and lounge. Folding storage walls and furniture maximise space within the bedroom units. Opening velux Roof Windows and blue glazed tiles are used on both party walls to reflect light, creating a sense of space and allowing good ventilation into these ground-floor rooms. The studio on the first floor is of generous height with good natural daylight. velux gdl balcony Roof Windows form a permeable wall between the terrace and studio. The envelope of the building consists of standing-seam zinc, western red cedar and blue glazed tiles. A single unit is based on an approximate cost of £650 per m2. The gross floor area of a typical unit is 95m2, giving a build cost of approximately £61,750.

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