Goldsmith Street, Norwich

Goldsmith Street: Stirling Prize 2019

Goldsmith Street is a major social housing development consisting of over 100 energy-efficient homes. Its origins date back to 2008 when a RIBA competition was held by Norwich City Council. The contract was won by architects Mikhail Riches and Cathy Hawley and central to their brief was that the scheme would achieve the stringent Passivhaus Certification. Following the financial crash, proposals were put on hold for a number of years, but in 2019 the project was finally completed.

Located close to the centre of Norwich, the design has transformed the area by introducing streets and low-rise houses with landscaping into an area dominated by blocks of flats. Features include a shared alley which acts as a communal area. This is accessible via back gardens, offering a secure place for children's play. Dwellings range from one bed flats to four bedroom houses and there is an emphasis on sunny, light-filled homes with many rooms facing south.  The development has resulted in one of the largest Low Carbon schemes in Europe, with average energy bills of £150 per year.

In October 2019 the RIBA Stirling Prize was awarded to this project.  It is the first time ever that this prestigious award has gone to a social housing development.

Part of this project's success was in the choice of high quality companies to carry out each stage of the development. The architects requested Adrian James Acoustics undertake the detailed acoustic design and we drew on our considerable experience to ensure high standards were maintained.

Goldsmith Street is a ground-breaking project which could act as an inspiration for future social housing developments. As the Guardian architecture columnist Oliver Wainwright commented: "I have seen the future and it's Norwich".

Client: RG Carter Ltd

Architects: Mikhail Riches with Cathy Hawley for Norwich City Council

Project value: £14.8m