The ‘exceptional’ Derwenthorpe Phase One housing development in York by Studio Partington has been named best sustainable building at the AJ Architecture Awards
Derwenthorpe stands out as an exceptional exercise in place-making and a rigorous exemplar of sustainable housebuilding. ‘Many elements of the ambitious first phase of this project are easily replicable,’ said the judges.
The new neighbourhood of 64 homes, which represents just 12 per cent of the eventual masterplan, reads as an extension of York, rather than a greenfield build. Green infrastructure lies at the heart of the masterplan, with the open space shaped by flood prevention and landscaping for biodiversity.
The judges observed that, despite a slight tweeness in the architecture, the light-filled homes are notable for their fabric-first approach, pushing boundaries on space standards, dual-aspect living spaces and flexible winter gardens.
Of particular note was the construction of prototype houses to test the design. Extensive post-construction monitoring has informed future phases, currently on site.
Best practice has evolved since Derwenthorpe was conceived almost a decade ago, raising questions about some of the approaches, such as the viability of district heating at low densities and biomass energy centres. Nevertheless, the quality of design and detailing of both the homes and the public realm combined with a robust approach to learning from prototypes make this project a clear winner.
Highly commended: Dalston Lane by Waugh Thistleton Architects
This brick-clad, cross-laminated timber housing project suggests a possible future for high-density sustainable urban housing. Good space standards mean the project feels in no way ‘mean’, said the judges.
Finalist: GlaxoSmithKline Centre for Sustainable Chemistry by Fairhursts Design Group
GlaxoSmithKline Centre for Sustainable Chemistry by Fairhursts Design Group
Finalist: Greenwich Peninsula Low Carbon Energy Centre by CF Møller Architects
Greenwich Peninsula Low Carbon Energy Centre by CF Møller Architects
Source: Mark Hadden
Finalist: House 19 by Jestico + Whiles
Sustainable Project of the Year sponsored by