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Riches Hawley Mikhail Architects wins Elmswell comp

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East London-based practice Riches Hawley Mikhail Architects (RHM) has seen off hot competition to win a high-profile social housing contest in Suffolk.

The firm beat entries from Allies and Morrison, Fraser Brown Mackenna Architects, Henning Stummel Architects, Alison Brooks Architects and up-and-coming practice Foster Lomas to land the £2.9 million job in rural Elmswell.

The RIBA Competitions Office contest attracted more than 70 expressions of interest and practices were asked to come up with a scheme for 25 affordable homes which would 'interpret the distinctiveness of Suffolk in a contemporary way' (AJ 01.12.05).

However, the judges felt RHM's 'subtle, poetic response' had 'truly embraced the sustainable ethos behind the competition, as well as providing a link to Suffolk's past.'

Organised by Elmswell Parish Council, the East of England Development Agency, Mid Suffolk District Council, the Orwell Housing Association (OHA) and the Suffolk Preservation Society, it is hoped the project will 'reflect the needs of people living in a rural environment and act as an exemplar for 21st-century housing.'

Jury member Wendy Evans-Hendrick, director of development and property at OHA, said: 'We are excited by the designs of RHM Architects and feel that both their innovative design and environmental approach will provide an example for the future of how affordable housing can be attractive, innovative and built to a tight budget.'

by Richard Waite

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