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Make Bethnal Green Student Competition


10 May 2010

Press release contact:

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

Student architects make Bethnal Green

Two architectural students from Oxford Brooks University have been awarded the top prize in an open ideas competition run by affordable housing provider Affinity Sutton and RIBA Competitions.

Twenty-three year-old George Calver and Joe Williams, 25, both RIBA Part 2 architectural students, were asked to comtemplate what type of affordable housing scheme might have been built today on the site of Affinity Sutton’s 100 year-old Bethnal Green Estate, and how that design would make a positive contribution to the environment.

The judging panel, chaired by Ian Taylor, Partner and Studio Leader at Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, praised George’s design, for the East London estate, as 'an honest, pure form of architecture with residents and the community at its heart and external spaces as important as the buildings'.

Joe’s design was similarly hailed as using 'architecture to increase social sustainability and reverse the current trend for working, playing and shopping in isolation'.

Both winners received a funded Stage Two professional experience placement with the design led housing and regeneration consultancy HTA.

George said: 'My design was inspired by the idea of order and chaos and I was also inspired by the strong sense of community you get in the favelas in Brazil. I wanted to build stacked cubed units which when built above and below each other create spaces which could become shared communal spaces. I wanted it to be quite distinctive.'

Joe added: 'I wanted to change the focus of the Bethnal Green scheme - to make it more social, make it more communal and create opportunities for people to integrate. So there is a launderette, the opportunity for people to start their own social entrepreneur businesses which actually give something back to the community, public transport is prioritised and there are cycle bays. I was really inspired by the idea of social sustainability.'

The Bethnal Green estate, recently celebrated its 100th birthday, and was designed by Victorian architects Joseph and Smithem. It was one of Europe’s first social housing schemes and offered an escape from London’s East End slums.

The competition received an excellent response and eight schemes were selected as finalists by our judging panel to spend a week finessing their designs with Affinity Sutton’s partner architects.

All eight finalists’ refined designs are being showcased at the RIBA HQ Building from the 5 – 15 May 2010.

The judging panel included Hattie Hartman, Sustainability Editor, at the Architects’ Journal, Jane O'Sullivan, Chair of the Bethnal Green Tenants’ Association, Peter Sharratt, Global Director for Energy and Climate Change, WSP Group, Kerry Kyriacou Group Development and New Business Director, Affinity Sutton and Mark Washer, Group Finance Director and Design Champion, at Affinity Sutton.

With a portfolio of over 54,000 homes, Affinity Sutton is one of the largest providers of affordable housing in the country.

Mark Washer, Group Finance Director and Design Champion at Affinity Sutton, said: 'We are delighted with the response to our first ever Affinity Sutton Design Competition – Make Bethnal Green. The standard of entries was really excellent and I would like to congratulate George and Joe as worthy winners. There is a huge demand for well designed affordable homes which make a positive contribution to their community and we really want to be at the forefront of good design. Anything we can do to encourage talented young architects to develop an interest in affordable housing can only be a good thing.'

The exhibition of the Make Bethnal Green Student Competition is on show at the Florence Hall, RIBA, 66 Portland Place, London from the 5 May – 15 May 2010.

The schemes on display will be:

Heena Mistry, Oxford Brookes University - RH Partnership
Robert Williams, Oxford Brookes University - Cartwright Pickard
Dominic Taujanskas, Leeds Metropolitan University - Conran & Partner
Mallika Bhattacharya, Oxford Brookes University - PRP Architects
Christopher Bell, University of Bath - Karakusevic Carson
George Calver, Oxford Brookes University – Hunters
Andrew Longland, Oxford Brookes University – HTA
Richard Mather, Oxford Brookes University - Levitt Bernstein

Notes to editors



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