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Rising stars win Lakes and Dales housing contests

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The winners of the RIBA’s search to find affordable countryside housing suited to the under-35s have been revealed

The AJ can announce the winners in the RIBA-backed competition to design two protoype housing schemes for the under-35s in the Yorkshire Dales and Lake District National Parks.

Emerging London-based practice Outpost was chosen for a plot in Burneside, in the South Lakes, while recently-founded Mcmullan Studio landed a sister project in Horton-in-Ribblesdale, in Craven, North Yorkshire.

Three firms had been shortlisted for each site in the contest aimed at encouraging more young people to live, work and stay in the rural corridor running from Skipton in the south to Grasmere in the north. 

The brief called for innovative proposals for flexible, affordable housing for people aged between 16 and 34 – a demographic underrepresented in the region.

Fitzrovia-based Mcmullan Studio saw off Glasgow’s McGinlay Bell and Clerkenwell’s Patalab Architects. Outpost beat Hawkins\Brown and Weston Williamson.

Mcmullan Studio was set up last year by 38-year-old former HOK, Heatherwick Studio and Allies and Morrison architect Andrew Mcmullan. 

Its victorious part-prefab ‘Flexstead’ scheme is described as a ‘farmstead-style design [which gives] a nod to both ancient Dales farmsteads and loft-style living.’

The project will be delivered by Craven District Council working with the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority – the local planning authority.

Outpost was founded in 2016 by architects and friends-since-school Robin Sjoholm, 39, and Thomas Housden, 40.

The practice’s concept for Burneside features a series of ‘longhouses’ billed as a ‘modern interpretation of the Cumbrian vernacular of the past’. The scheme will be brought forward by landowners James Cropper, Ellergreen Estate and the Anglers Inn Trust working in partnership with development manager igloo Regeneration as part of an evolving masterplan for the wider village. 

The competition was backed by Great Place: Lakes and Dales – a three-year rural pilot project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England.

The organisation was set up to explore the reasons why the region has 44 per cent fewer 16-34-year olds than the national average and how to address this through ‘arts, heritage and culture as the catalyst for economic, social and environmental change’.

According to the client team, the sustainable credentials of the winning submissions was ‘incredibly important, both in terms of sustainable living, but also the environmental impact upon the area.’

Richard Dowson, of Great Place: Lakes and Dales, says: ‘A key issue for housing in rural areas is often the associated running costs, such as heating. Therefore, both the programme and developers wanted to see schemes that would address this and make them truly affordable. Both winning schemes addressed this issue head on.’ 

The flexstead horton ribblesdale mcmullan 2

WINNER - Horton-in-Ribblesdale site: Mcmullan Studio

WINNER - Horton-in-Ribblesdale site: Mcmullan Studio

On choosing two relative newcomers, judge Mark Cropper, of paper manufacturer James Cropper, the main landowner at Burneside, adds: ‘Finding young emerging talent that is sensitive to the sites and briefs has been a great outcome. Both sites desperately need to retain and attract youth and a young design team is a great place to start.’

Cropper was joined on the jury by Wayne Hemingway of Hemingway Design, Nathan Cornish of Urban Splash, David Roberts of igloo and RIBA adviser Sasha Bhavan of Knox Bhavan Architects.

Both plots will be subject to further consultation between the architects, site developers and local residents before plans are submitted. 

  • 3 Comments

Readers' comments (3)

  • Industry Professional

    Seems unfair to Outpost that despite the article being about their rising fame they don't get a mention in the headline. I've noticed this is a pattern on the AJ - whenever a small firm does something newsworthy their name is left out of the headline in preference for a descriptive phrase. Larger practices however, get mentioned by name. Small practices rely on the press generated from these kinds of successes. While the AJ doesn't owe them assistance, I'd hope they could be impartial enough to treat all practices the same.

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  • MacKenzie Architects

    Good to see someone finally putting an overhang on a roof and avoiding valley gutters.
    They've obviously looked at the weather in Cumbria (Outpost)

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  • "The organisation was set up to explore the reasons why the region has 44 per cent fewer 16-34-year olds than the national average"

    Well, I think they may have answered this by choosing a practice from London.......

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