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AJ Architecture Awards 2018: Housing Project of the Year (up to £10m)

KKE Architects has won Housing Project of the Year (up to £10 million) for its St John’s Almshouses later life living scheme

Surrounding a heritage townscape of Grade I-listed 15th-century almshouses in Lichfield, these two new blocks provide 18 flats of sheltered accommodation for the elderly. The judges observed that the project reveals ‘a deep understanding of what the target demographic of downsizers is seeking and demonstrates a rare empathy and understanding of how people really live.’ This is a project which must be visited to understand its quality and materiality, added the judges.

A sensitive approach to site design and landscaping enables residents to easily opt in or out of socialising, through a thoughtful layout of semi-private areas defined by raised beds for shared allotment gardening. 

The stair towers, deck access and the units themselves are characterised by a rare ‘generosity of spirit’, according to the judges. They added: ‘The scale, texture and materiality of this project provide a backdrop for living; people add the colour.’ 

The success of the deck access arrangement is evident in the way people are using the spaces. The units include generous entrance halls, open plan living spaces and spacious bedrooms.  

Certified to Passivhaus standard (the practice’s first Passivhaus project), the geometry, form and orientation of the buildings were carefully integrated from the outset along with appropriate glazing ratios and shading devices. 

Shortlist

  • Challender Court by Emmett Russell Architects
  • Gainsford Road by Gort Scott
  • Haddo Yard by Denizen Works
  • Moor’s Nook by Coffey Architects
  • PegasusLife Hortsley by RCKa
  • Temple Gardens by Archio
  • Victoria Wharf by Child Graddon Lewis
  • Weston Street by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris