An eco-friendly council estate in Norwich has won this year’s prestigious RIBA Stirling Prize for Architecture. This is the first time that a social housing scheme has won the prize. Tobermore are very proud to have contributed to the hard landscaping of this groundbreaking project.
Award-winning Landscape Architects BBUK Studio chose Tobermore paving which was used extensively to create streets, pathways and communal areas.
Harriet Bourne Director at BBUK Landscape Architects commented; ‘’We are delighted with our choice of Tobermore’s paving for the hard-landscaping at Goldsmith Street. Their eco-friendly credentials made them the perfect choice for this innovative project.’’
The architects took inspiration from Victorian terraced houses, with streets created instead of apartment blocks. To encourage a community spirit, the back gardens of the central terraces share a secure play area for children and a walkway for communal gatherings runs through the middle of the estate.
The material choices were inspired by typical materials seen in Norwich and the strong Dutch influence. The brick colour is based on the 19th-century houses nearby. Other materials were chosen for their high thermal performance and low carbon impact.
The Royal Institute of British Architects gives out the award each year to the UK’s best new building. Goldsmith Street beat the likes of London Bridge Station, Nevill Holt Opera and Cork house to the highly coveted award.
RIBA President Ben Derbyshire said all the designs show grand ambition and commitment: ‘What they have in common – ground-breaking innovation, extraordinary creativity and the highest-quality materials and detailing – sets them apart, rightfully earning them a chance to win the highest accolade in architecture. We must encourage their architectural ambition, innovation, bravery and skill.’
The judges – who included the architect of last year’s winner Bloomberg London, Michael Jones of Foster and Partners, and architect of the London Eye, Julia Barfield of Marks Barfield – said: ‘Goldsmith Street is a modest masterpiece. It is high-quality architecture in its purest most environmentally and socially-conscious form… These desirable, spacious, low-energy properties should be the norm for all council housing.’ RIBA president and judge Alan Jones, who grew up in a council house, pointed to it as a ‘beacon of hope’.
“This is an incredibly proud moment for Norwich,” said Norwich City Council, councillor Gail Harris, cabinet member for social housing. “Winning this prestigious award shows that it is possible to build fantastic new council homes, despite the challenges posed by central government cuts and restrictions around right to buy receipts.”
The materials board from Goldsmith Street by Mikhail Riches with Cathy Hawley – The 2019 RIBA Stirling Prize winner – Number 11. Tobermore Photographed by Ståle Eriksen.
Tobermore Owner/Managing Director David Henderson said; Tobermore would like to congratulate Norwich City Council, BBUK Studio and Mikhail Riches Architects on this groundbreaking project. Tobermore are incredibly proud to have supplied paving to Goldsmith Street.”
Photography: Tim Crocker/RIBA/PA and Peter Cook