News feeds  RSS

RIBA Competition: Design ideas for housing in the private rental market – shortlist and designs revealed


22 October 2013

Press release contact:

Julia Davies
T: +44 (0)113 203 1490
E: julia.davies@riba.org

The Wates Group, Wates Family Enterprise Trust and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) set the challenge in June this year seeking design ideas for housing in the private rental market.  

Research has shown that an increasing number of households are renting rather than buying, with a predicted 1 in 5 UK households to be renting in 2016. The competition sought to explore what specifically designed privately rented suburban neighbourhood might look like. It is hoped that the ideas generated will influence the design of future rental schemes in a positive way with real benefits to people and their communities.

The competition attracted an extremely strong field of entrants with innovative submissions from architects and students around the world.  

The Judging Panel, which comprised Tim Wates, Director, Wates Group; Andy Hobart, Managing Director, Wates Living Space; Simon Allford, Director, AHMM, RIBA Adviser; Angela Brady, Past President, RIBA; Nick Jopling, Executive Director Property, Grainger Plc; Paul Tennant, Chief Executive, Orbit Housing and Crispin Kelly, Managing Director, Bayling, has now selected a shortlist. 

The teams (in alphabetical order) are:

  •  actLAB, New York, United States
  •  Andrew Stoane Architect, Edinburgh
  •  Carl Turner Architects, London
  •  Metropolitan Workshop with Sir Richard MacCormac, Lee Mallet, WT Partnership,
    XC 02 and Frank Vickery

Representing the Judging Panel, Tim Wates said: “I was very impressed by the flair and ideas of the entries and it was tough job to choose four finalists. It will be even more difficult to choose the winner.”

Simon Allford, AHMM, RIBA Adviser said: “We were absolutely delighted with the quality of entries received for this ideas competition. The competition's ambition was to garner (& ultimately exhibit) proposals that would stimulate important debate on the impact of the emerging Private Rented Sector on the design, commissioning and management of potential new typologies and places. 

Key themes emerging in different guises from the strongest entries included ideas for the flexible use of spaces –home expansion, contraction, adaptability or mobility - as families change. Ideas for how the places can support new community models –making use of shared facilities and communal spaces. There was also some serious consideration of the different challenge landlords face in managing these new homes and places and indeed how prospective tenants might engage in the same.

The entries inevitably stimulated much discussion amongst the judges and we were pleased to agree a shortlist which is an exciting representation of a cross section of the strongest ideas. We look forward to meeting the shortlisted entrants to further discuss their ideas.”

The shortlisted teams will meet the Judging Panel at a final presentation and the overall winner will be announced on Monday 25 November 2013 at an awards ceremony hosted at the RIBA.

Notes to editors

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) champions better buildings, communities and the environment through architecture and our 40,000+ global network of members. Founded in 1834, the RIBA received its Royal Charter in 1837 and today is recognised as a Business Superbrand.

RIBA Competitions has been established for over 40 years and is responsible for delivering some of the most high-profile building projects in the UK through competition. These range from major public projects such as the Millennium Bridge, BALTIC and The Hepworth Wakefield to the more unusual like Halley Research Station, Antarctic. Competitions are a recognised vehicle that drives up quality, stimulates creativity and innovation and generates a range of ideas improving choice which often results in award winning buildings. For further details visit www.architecture.com/competitions

The Wates Family Enterprise Trust is a charitable trust set up by the Family owners of the Wates Group. As part of its work the Trust seeks to promote thought leadership around topical social issues to advance ideas and address solutions through its programme Wates Giving. For further information visit


Established over 116 years ago, the Wates Group is one of the UK’s leading construction companies, employing over 2,600 people and posting a turnover of £1.2bn in 2012.

A stable presence in a changing market, Wates works on a variety of projects across the public and private sectors, from building new homes and providing planned and responsive maintenance to housing associations and local authorities; through to office interiors; construction projects in the commercial, retail, heritage and education sectors; and partnering on joint-venture developments.

The first privately-owned company ever to be awarded Business in the Community’s Community Mark in recognition of its leadership and excellence in community investment, Wates is distinguished by its commitment to leaving a lasting legacy in the places where it works.  www.wates.co.uk

 actLAB is a New York based collaborative design group. We represent the architect, the educator, the illustrator, the photographer, the writer - critically observing and representing human behaviour - collaborating on projects that enhance and re-imagine social life in cities and in communities, re-qualifying architectural typologies.

actLAB (www.actlabnyc.com) is lead by Australian registered architect & Columbia University GSAPP alumna / faculty, Aya Maceda (www.ayamaceda.com), with collaborators, Buzz Wei (architect/ GSAPP alumnus) and Sandra Javera (architect/illustrator www.sandrajavera.com).

Andrew Stoane is an Edinburgh based architect and educator. His studio simultaneously operates as an architectural practice and a think tank for more speculative and research orientated strains of architecture. He teaches architecture and urban design at Edinburgh’s ESALA school. Construction, pedagogy and research continually reciprocate to enable multi-disciplinary and varied outputs. In practice, since its inception in 1993, the studio has built a reputation on meticulously detailed smaller scale work involving an unusual level of attention and direct involvement in the construction process. In research, among the broad range of interests, volume housing has been a perennial focus, with an increasing reflection on the architect’s agency within the industry.

Carl Turner studied architecture at the Royal College of Art in London. The RCA provided him with a foundation for collaboration and working across platforms, and an enduring ethos that sees design and construction as an extension of his time there as a ‘maker’. Before establishing Carl Turner Architects, Carl worked with a number of practices including Foster + Partners, and Penoyre & Prasad.

Carl Turner Architects was formed in 2006, and has established a reputation for high impact, low cost architecture. The practice has won numerous awards for its work, including a RIBA Award and the RIBA Manser Medal in 2013 for Slip House, which was also short-listed for the RIBA Stephen Lawrence Prize. The practice was highly commended in the 2012 Architect of the Year Awards, and was the only UK practice to be highly commended in the 2013 AR House Awards.

Teaching and engagement with the wider design world are important aspects of practice life. Carl has taught at the Architectural Association, the Royal College of Art, the University of Greenwich and the University of Brighton, and has been an external examiner at London South Bank University. Carl is also a member of the Southwark Design Panel.

The practice is working on a series of residential and community projects around the UK, and will be showcasing its work with the RIBA in Shanghai, China in 2014. 

Metropolitan Workshop Architecture and Urbanism is based in London with wide, international experience of complex housing projects. We have teamed up with Sir Richard MacCormac for this competition, who's work on Sustainable suburbia is highly relevant. 

Our team's experience encompasses over 40 years of housing design of all types and tenures and in all contexts. A consistent tenant of our housing work has always been the importance of housing design in promoting social cohesion and developing convivial ways of living. 

Our recent work has demonstrates that compelling cases can be made for delivering design-led housing in appropriate greenbelt contexts.



Top of page