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Assemble’s Turner Prize houses to sell with affordable housing clause

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Three of architecture collective Assemble’s Turner Prize-winning houses in Toxteth, Liverpool, will be sold with a clause ensuring they are affordable to locals in perpetuity

The east London outfit regenerated eight houses in the rundown Granby Four Streets estate and three of them – owned by the Granby Four Streets Community Land Trust – will be sold with a deed of covenant attached to the properties. The other five will be rented out.

The covenant will mean each house is subject to a resale clause so that it will always be sold below the open market value, calculated using the median wage level for Liverpool.

It will also ensure that only locals, who will have to demonstrate a connection to the Granby area, can purchase the property – but this will be extended to showing a connection to the any part of Liverpool if the house is still on sale after six months.

The set-up is based on a similar system used by the east London Community Land Trust for its scheme at St. Clements, Lewisham. 

Assemble member Antony Engi-Meacock said: ‘The process from the beginning was always to try and make the houses affordable and ultimately for people who are based in the area – or have a link to the area…

‘That was intrinsic in the business model from the beginning of the project.

‘Once you take a house out of being primarily an asset, it makes a very different attitude to who buys it and why they want it. There’s a real value in that.

‘The risk obviously is then if you have that they get stuck behind – the market is still the market. The concern is you don’t want to create a situation where people are increasingly left behind because, while you may not like the dominant market forces, they’re still there.’

According to the land trust, offers have been accepted for the three houses for £92,000 each, with legal work expected to complete in January.

It understood that four similar houses on the same street had open-market valuations of £120,000 each.

Last year Assemble – an 18-strong group – became the first collective and the first architecture practice to win the £40,000 Turner Prize, in a move described as ‘changing the nature of the art prize’.

The emerging practice was commissioned by Steinbeck Studio – an ethical community developer which invested in the land trust that formed in 2011 – to help improve the houses and neighbourhood in the Granby Four Streets estate.

On Monday (5 December) sculptor Helen Marten was awarded this year’s Turner Prize for her collage-like exhibition of handmade and found objects, including cotton buds, eggs, snooker chalk and snakeskin.

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Readers' comments (3)

  • All I can say is "what would Patrick Schumacher say" Well done to all involved. Proves that architecture in this country really does have a moral compass to be proud of. Lets gets the same in Frome and all around the country and see what the Barretts and Bloors of this world have to say.

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  • As a Liverpool resident and staff member of the RIBA NW office, I am delighted to see such these building typologies being so brilliantly modified. Plenty more of the same please!

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  • Millions more of the same, please, and time's short.

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