Goldsmith Street sets new standard for social housing

RIBA East are delighted with the announcement that Goldsmith Street, Norwich has won both this year’s Stirling Prize and the inaugural Neave Brown Award for Housing.

29 October 2019

At RIBA East, we are delighted with the announcement that Goldsmith Street, Norwich has won both this year’s Stirling Prize and the inaugural Neave Brown Award for Housing. Congratulations to Norwich City Council and Mikhail Riches with Cathy Hawley – we’re truly proud to have another Stirling winner in our region, and particularly one with such strong environmental and social credentials.

When we took the regional awards jury around the scheme at the start of the Awards process back in March 2019, it was clear that it offered something special and that it was at least of national award standard. Little did we know just how far it would get, picking up the ultimate accolade of best UK building of the year. The right choice for all sorts of reasons.

Regional Jury Chairman, Jon Greenfield, Director of Architecture at Hamson Barron Smith, remarked: “When the RIBA East Awards Jury visited Goldsmith Street we could see immediately that it was a very special scheme. It was with great delight that we were followed by others in recognising the same special qualities – first when it was awarded an RIBA National Prize and then when it was shortlisted for the Stirling Prize. At the Roundhouse, when Goldsmith Street first received the Neave Brown Award for Housing, and then the Stirling Prize itself, we felt that we had witnessed a watershed moment in British architecture: social housing is back, and true sustainability is top of the agenda.

We were also very pleased that Norwich City Council had reached the RIBA Client of the Year shortlist. The public sector has a very important role in setting the standards for social housing, and Norwich City Council did a first rate job at Goldsmith Street. More local authorities need to follow their lead.”

Tom Foggin, RIBA East Regional Chairman and Associate at RH Partnership Architects, commented: “The combined win of the RIBA Stirling Prize 2019 and inaugural Neave Brown Award reflects the new benchmark that Goldsmith Street has set for housing across the UK. The project is an exemplar of what can be achieved when a well-informed and committed client takes a long term view of sustainability and placemaking, which I hope will inform housing design and procurement across the Eastern region.”

Goldsmith Street is the fourth project to be awarded the Stirling Prize in the East of England since its inception in 1996, with previous winners being Sainsbury Laboratory, Cambridge by Stanton Williams (2012), Accordia, Cambridge, by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Alison Brooks Architects and Maccreanor Lavington (2008), and the American Air Museum, IWM Duxford by Foster & Partners (1998).

The 2020 RIBA Awards will open to entries in December. Perhaps your project could be the next Stirling winner - it’s worth a try.

Stirling Prize winners in the East: Goldsmith Street, Sainsbury Laboratory, Accordia and American Air Museum Duxford. Photos: Tim Crocker, Hufton+Crow, Peter Cook and Foster + Partners

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