NATIONWIDE SUSTAINABLE HOUSING COMPETITION 2011
THE THIRD IN A SERIES OF ANNUAL IDEAS COMPETITIONS OPEN TO ARCHITECTURE STUDENTS AND THIS YEAR ALSO OPEN TO PROFESSIONALS
In July 2011 the third in a series of annual ideas competitions open to architecture students was launched by Nationwide Building Society with the support of RIBA Competitions. This year the competition also welcomed submissions, responding to the same brief, from registered architects – with the two categories of entrants to be judged separately, and prizes from two equal funds awarded in each category.
The theme this year was Regeneration, and aimed to stimulate and reward innovative thinking about how a more sustainable lifestyle can be achieved in an area where neglect and lack of clear direction is compromising future prospects. The brief defined Hillington Square, Kings Lynn, as a site for such regeneration, but also offered entrants the option of submitting ideas for a clearly defined and documented similar area which entrants had knowledge and experience of.
The judges were looking for design strategies and interventions whose aim was to achieve a marked improvement in quality of life for people living and working in an area. Architectural strategies for blocks, groups of homes, new facilities and communal areas were considered, and the judges were keen to reward submissions where social and environmental considerations had been addressed as well as design quality and affordability. The key criteria was considered including enabling community activity and interaction, connectivity and integration into existing town, landscape and ecology interventions, reduced carbon footprint and strength of visual interest. Entrants' responses to sustainability criteria were assessed including reduced waste and energy demand, water conservation and sustainable materials.
There was great diversity in the responses to the topic of regeneration – some taking the opportunity to treat an existing location as a 'blank' canvas and others being mindful of the sensitivities of existing residents and possible impact of programme and phasing etc. Generally, the quality was considered to be high, irrespective of entrants 'category' ie professional or student, and since the competition set out to be an ideas competition, even though each site chosen was 'real', due to the nature of the competition any assumptions about brief and existing residents was hypothetical and not comparable with a real-life brief where certain constraints could be over-riding and consultation extensive.
- Graeme Hughes
Group Director - HR & Corporate Affairs, Nationwide Building Society
- Lynne Sullivan OBE
RIBA Lead Adviser
- Walter Menteth
- Wayne Hemingway
- David Orr
Chief Executive, National Housing Federation
- Gideon Amos OBE
Commissioner to the Infrastructure Planning Commission
- Joanne Wallis
RIBA Competitions (Observer)