The Big Picture: Social housing scheme scoops Stirling Prize

A development of 105 council homes in Norwich, called Goldsmith Street, won this year's Stirling Prize, awarded by the Royal Institute of British Architects to the best UK building.

Goldsmith Street: Stirling Prize win
Goldsmith Street: Stirling Prize win

Architect Mikhail Riches’ scheme of two- and three-storey terraced homes, built to Passivhaus standards, ignored standard design advice to achieve a low-rise dense traditional street pattern modelled on Norwich’s popular "Golden Triangle" of Victorian terraces. Judges hailed a "modest masterpiece" in which the pitch of roofs were specifically calculated to allow the sun to warm all buildings in the development, even throughout the winter.


Number of homes available for social rent in the Goldsmith Street scheme


Usual minimum distance between opposing house fronts in design guidance, according to Mikhail Riches


Distance between opposing house fronts in Goldsmith Street, to achieve intimate feel and higher density


Dwellings per hectare density achieved on the scheme


Extra number of homes allowed by negotiating reduced gap between terraces 


Number of council homes sold under Right to Buy in Norwich in the three years it took to build Goldsmith Street

Sources: RIBA, Norwich City Council, Mikhail Riches Architects

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