TG2209 : Council housing off Goldsmith Street

taken 1 month ago, near to Earlham, Norfolk, Great Britain

Council housing off Goldsmith Street
Council housing off Goldsmith Street
The houses form part of the award-winning Goldsmith Street council estate.
The award-winning Goldsmith Street council estate
On Tuesday, 8 October 2019, the recently completed Goldsmith Street council housing estate which was awarded architecture’s top award, the Stirling prize, with the judges describing it as an outstanding contribution to British architecture. The RIBA Stirling Prize was first established in 1996 and is the UK’s most prestigious architecture award, given to the architect of the best building project of the year and thought to be the most significant of the year for the evolution of architecture and the built environment.

The London-based architects of the estate, Mikhail Riches and Cathy Hawley, first won the competition for the site in 2008, but initially The council’s intention had been to sell the site to a local housing provider - plans scuppered by the financial crisis. The 105 homes in Goldsmith Street took 12 years from inception to completion, partly because of the complex ways that local authorities have to operate. In 2012, the city decided to develop the site itself, a brave step and a big risk, since it had not built homes for decades, because ever since the Tory government of the 1980s prevented councils from reinvesting funds from the sale of their council flats into building new housing, it had lacked the resources to do so.

The £17m Goldsmith Street estate is a development of new council-owned energy efficient homes, occupying a site of 1.2 hectares and comprising 56 one-bed flats and a mix of two, three and four bedroom flats and houses, and one of the largest collections of Passivhaus homes currently under construction in the UK, meeting the exacting German Passivhaus standards, ie a 70% reduction in fuel bills for tenants. Heating bills are estimated to amount to no more than £150 a year, a boon when fuel poverty is a major issue.

The estate is arranged in seven terraced blocks modelled on nearby Victorian streets and features rows of two-storey houses bookended by three-storey flats. Due to insulation and light-absorbing materials used, the houses do not rely on any fuel-heating methods. Even the letterboxes, built into external porches, have been specially designed to reduce draughts and save energy. All the homes face south and the roofs are angled at 15 degrees to ensure each terrace does not block sunlight from homes in the street behind.

For more information go to LinkExternal link

Interest in a prize-winning council housing estate in Norwich has become so intense that the local authority is planning regular guided tours, prompting a warning against turning the homes into a “freak show”.

Norwich city council has been inundated with requests from other councils keen to visit Goldsmith Street and replicate its success after it won the coveted Stirling prize earlier this month and was hailed as a “modern masterpiece”.

And the London firm Mikhail Riches, which designed the 105-home development with architect Cathy Hawley, has been contacted from designers worldwide who want to visit Norwich’s newest attraction.

Andrew Turnbull, the council’s housing development manager who commissioned the scheme, now has the task of managing growing interest in it. “We have been contacted by an awful lot of local authorities who are saying they want to bring people down en masse,” he said.

I've seen the future and it's Norwich: the energy-saving, social housing revolution
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Turnbull is working on plans for guided tours, which could take place every two months, at which the architects, councillors and officers will be on hand to answer visitors’ questions. Interest is so high that places on the tours could be rationed to control the numbers. “We might have to limit it to a few places per organisation,” he said. - Matthew Weaver, The Guardian, 18 Oct 2019.
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TG2209, 969 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Thursday, 10 October, 2019   (more nearby)
Thursday, 10 October, 2019
Geographical Context
Housing, Dwellings  City, Town centre 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TG 2212 0916 [10m precision]
WGS84: 52:38.0822N 1:16.8646E
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TG 2215 0916
View Direction
WEST (about 270 degrees)
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