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Barber picks up RA’s top prize with low-income housing vision

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Peter Barber Architects has landed the Royal Academy’s top architecture prize for its alternative vision for low-cost housing on London’s Mount Pleasant

The £10,000 Turkish Ceramics Grand Award for Architecture went to the practice’s speculative high-density, low-rise social housing proposal for the Royal Mail sorting office site.

The scheme was unveiled in October as a rival to contentious plans for the plot in Clerkenwell by Allies and Morrison, Wilkinson Eyre, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and AHMM (see AJ 16.10.14).

Speaking to the AJ last year, Barber said the proposal, would provide inexpensive accommodation for around 100 small businesses and 2,000 homes for people on low incomes.

He added: ‘With Coldbath Town, I was thinking of places like the Brighton Lanes, Barceloneta and north African urbanism – bits of cities that people absolutely adore being in. It’s the antithesis of say, the Olympic Park.’

The £5,000 AKTII Architecture Prize, which is awarded to an architect under 35, was handed to Laurence Pinn, Ben Kirk and Andrew Diggle for their work Urban Flora Propagation Field Box.

This year sees architecture prizes return to the arts institution, after last year – for the first time since 1983 – none were handed out after long-term supporter Lend Lease decided to withdraw its sponsorship of the annual event.

This year the show’s architecture room has been curated by Royal Academician Ian Ritchie. The exhibition, entitled Inventive Landscapes shows landscape and architecture together and includes work by Zaha Hadid, Norman Foster, Will Alsop, Thomas Heatherwick, David Chipperfield and newly elected Royal Academician Farshid Moussavi.


It was previously announced by the RA that Bartlett Student Kirsty Williams had won the AKTII prize for her designs for a Museum of Natural History in Ivrea, Italy. This announcement was incorrect.


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