Case studies

In 2008 the RIBA launched a two stage open design competition on behalf of Norwich Union (Aviva).  The competition challenged designers to come up with innovative and interesting ideas for building housing in flood risk areas, taking tinto account practicability, buildability, liveability, and addressing both flood resilience and resistance.

A total of 85 entries were received by the submission deadline in mid September. 
Design proposals were from the UK, throughout Europe and as far away as Singapore, Malaysia, Canada, the US and Australia.

The original competition brief can be viewed here.

Images from selected entrants can be viewed here.

Competition Results

The result was announced at a special reception held at the Thames Gateway Forum in late November.  The winners each received £3,500 prize money which was presented by Robert Napier, Chair of the Government's newly-formed Homes and Communities Agency.
"We were looking for innovative real-life solutions to what is an ever increasing threat to all of us," said Simon Black, head of flood mapping at Norwich Union.
"Clearly we would rather homes weren't built on flood plains, but we have to be realistic – with the Government planning to build three million new homes by 2020 there is a real likelihood this will happen. So how do we build homes that balance development needs with environmental change? This was the challenge and the results show excellent potential for homes of the future."

The four joint first prize winners were:
•    Nissen Adams LLP - based in London
•    Eleena Jamil Architects – based in Malaysia
•    Pohkit Goh – based in Edinburgh
•    Hopper Howe Sadler – based in Newcastle 

Highly Commended 
•    Moxon Architects Ltd - based in London

Sunand Prasad, RIBA President, said at the prize giving, "It has been fascinating and instructive for the RIBA together with Norwich Union to explore how design-led solutions can respond to the flooding challenge.

"Reducing the risk of flooding does not begin and end with concrete walls and buildings on stilts, as the results of the competition show. Good design lies at the heart of creating communities that are more resilient against flooding, of lessening the cost caused by flooding when it does occur and of minimising the impact it has on local livelihoods and safety. The variety of the approaches demonstrated by the entrants shows the enormous potential of design-led solutions."

Aviva and the RIBA are now presenting the winning ideas to developers, planners and policy makers in the hope that it will stimulate new ideas and solutions on how to deal with homes and flood risk.


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