Judges comments by Simon Allford, RIBA Adviser, on behalf of the Judging Panel
The work produced by competitors illustrates the outstanding response received to this open ideas competition set up to fuel debate on the suburban and architectural possibilities of the essential, but little understood, Private Rented Sector.
Presented with the constraints of a house builders typical suburban site layout and mix, a commentary on current considerations and the challenge to invent, the four shortlisted entrants, have rigorously pursued hugely intelligent models of what they believe the immediate and near future might hold. Although each is particular, interestingly they all explore designs that, by increasing density in plan, in section and over time seek to engender - at both the scale of the building and the place - more delightful shared space.
They each also offer fascinating suggestions for new funding, renting and group ownership models; insights into construction and technique; visions of future shared living arrangements; as well as designs for the new typologies that are needed.
Carl Turner Architects/Supernature
This scheme uses the British gardening obsession to kickstart and maintain a new community, with a clear idea of how this might be facilitated and made to work. The courtyard cluster typologies provide a well resolved take on the requirement for spatial flexibility in a typology which seem eminently suitable for the PRS. A lively and engaging proposal, beautifully presented, which felt plausible for todays PRS market.
Metropolitan Workshop /Flexibili-T
An exemplary piece of research and enquiry providing a model scheme that masters density shifts, a range of flexible unit types and a balance of public, shared and private spaces to produce a scheme with a convincing sense of place. Development phasing and flexible investment models added depth to a proposal for a new suburban dream only available be renting.
Focusing on clusters of living spaces connected by externally accessed circulation, this proposal allows for a fluid reconfiguration of the unit types, where spaces can always be reached and let independently, or as larger connected units. This is an interesting system for a "buy to let" variant of the PRS, with engaging drawings exploring the placemaking for the shared spaces between buildings.
A challenging piece of speculation on how the housing market might be reconfigured online to suit a new generation of householders who embrace change, this was a scheme researched in depth. It proposes an interesting model for rethinking the investor/landlord/tenant/customer relationship, as well as the supply lines of the housing itself.