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Revealed: Four-strong shortlist for inaugural Neave Brown housing award

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The RIBA has revealed the shortlist for the first-ever award in honour of the late council housing pioneer Neave Brown – just two of which contain social housing

The finalists include Norwich City Council-built Goldsmith Street by Mikhail Riches with Cathy Hawley and the regeneration of Hackney’s Colville Estate by Karakusevic Carson Architects (KCA) with David Chipperfield.

Also on the list are Mae Architects’ Brentford Lock West Keelson Gardens in Hounslow and WilkinsonEyre with Mole Architects’ Eddington Lot 1 in north-west Cambridge.

The award sets out to celebrate schemes that demonstrate evidence of meeting the ‘challenge of housing affordability’, however the criteria has previously drawn criticism for requiring only a third of the homes to be ‘affordable’. 

Architects including Kate Macintosh, Jane Duncan and Bell Phillips’ Hari Phillips said the award should celebrate social housing, not ‘intermediate’ affordable housing such as shared ownership or discounted rents.

Of the four shortlisted schemes, only Goldsmith Street, which includes 105 homes built to Passivhaus standard, is 100 per cent social housing. 

KCA’s regeneration of the Colville Estate in east London was praised by the judges for its ‘bold’ masterplan. The scheme is set to deliver 925 new homes – with 50 per cent affordable across the phased development.  

Phase 1 includes 41 social units at Bridport House, which has faced issues over its construction under design and build contractor Willmott Dixon. However, the RIBA said this phase was not submitted for the award.

Phase 2 includes 116 mixed-tenure homes, including 70 for social rent. The affordable housing is cross-subsidised by two private tower blocks in phase 3, designed with David Chipperfield Architects and completed in January. 

Also shortlisted is Mae Architects’ ‘thoughtful canalside development’ Brentford Lock West Keelson Gardens in Hounslow, which contains 115 homes, 50 per cent of which are shared ownership and the rest for private sale.

Meanwhile, WilkinsonEyre with Mole Architects’ Eddington Lot 1 in north-west Cambridge provides accommodation for university staff at discounted rents. Judges said it was an ‘exemplar of integrated urban design’.

RIBA president Ben Derbyshire said the shortlist presented four exemplars ‘innovative, creative and highly desirable’ communities in a diverse range of locations.

‘Each one addresses the challenge of housing affordability with impressive thought and innovative design – and are collectively a fitting homage to the legacy of the late, great Neave Brown.’

Neave Brown, who died last year, designed some of Britain’s most imaginative post-war public housing including Alexandra Road and Dunboyne Road Estate, both in Camden.

In 2018, the Modernist architect was awarded the UK’s highest honour for architecture, the Royal Gold Medal for Architecture.

To be eligible for the Neave Brown Award for Housing, a scheme must be a 2019 RIBA Regional Award-winning housing project with 10 or more homes and have completed after October 2016.

The shortlist was judged by RIBA President Ben Derbyshire, director at Levitt Bernstein Jo McCafferty; and professor Adrian Gale, formally of the School of Architecture at the University of Plymouth.

The winner will be announced at the RIBA Stirling Prize ceremony on Tuesday 8 October at the Roundhouse in Camden, London.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • A strong shortlist, but are we to understand from the inclusion of the Colville Estate that tenure blind, seamlessly integrated social housing is no longer a mark of good housing and urbanism? Private towers that put two fingers up to equality is certainly 'bold'. Neave would be proud.

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