Housing Design Awards

Back in 1947 it was decided that there should be formal recognition of high quality public housing design and layout. Initially there were regional categories for rural, urban, new and reconstructed buildings, with architects and contractors being recognised for their commitment to promoting high quality living. This recognition was formally awarded each year until 1955.

In 1960 the idea was reignited as the Good Design in Housing Awards. In its new format both public and private buildings were nominated and awarded. By 1981, with additional sponsors, the Housing Design Awards were established. These awards celebrate high quality, affordable housing which promotes high quality living for its residents.

Supreme Winner 2015

In this year’s awards, the Supreme Winner was Parkside, a development in Matlock which was designed by Evans Vettori Architects. The contractor was Barncroft Homes. The site on which Parkside has been developed was originally home to a derelict hotel and car park. Not only does the new building provide spacious living with good links to the local park and town centre, it has also helped to rejuvenate a tired part of the town.

The ground floor is made up of retail units, which have brought cafes and shops to this area of town. Above them sit three storeys of residential homes. The design of Parkside has made the most of natural light and views of the nearby parkland, with occupants benefitting from a good sized balcony in addition to the interior space.

Surrounded by historic architecture, the thought of a contemporary building might be considered out of place in such a location. This is where the attention to detail of the architect has really come into its own. From sourcing quarry stone that most closely matched that of the town’s older buildings and adding a linear texture that adds character and tone to the new building, a modern construction sits comfortably in amongst its neighbours.

With private balconies, a public open space created to the east of the building and footpaths leading from Parkside to the park, it is natural for residents to be enticed outdoors into the fresh air. This can promote good health, as well as encouraging interaction between occupants, which builds a sense of community and well-being.

Other Housing Award Winners

Other winners of this year’s awards include Portobello Square in London, which received the Mayor’s Award, The Avenue in Saffron Walden which achieved the Graham Pye Award for family housing and St Bede’s Housing for senior citizens in Bedford. These completed projects, along with other works in progress which were recognised in this year’s awards all use fresh thinking and innovative approaches to create homes that will people enjoy living in.

Building Conditions

Whether you are working on an empty plot or reinventing an existing building, construction is both a challenging and a rewarding occupation. Construction teams have to have a detailed understanding of the architect’s vision. They must work to standards that consistently meet building regulations, whilst being open to innovative materials, methods and design ideas that have inspired the architect. Construction involves a wide variety of skilled trade’s people and they must work in harmony in order to efficiently complete each project.

With a myriad of people, materials and machinery on site at any time, it is little wonder that a building site is one of the highest risk work environments. In order to minimise the risks, it is essential that everyone on site understands and follows the safety measures that are in place. Site managers should complete the Site Manager Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) to ensure that they proactively lead on safety issues.

By effectively managing safety, being open to innovation and efficiently managing the project, site managers can play a vital role in ensuring that more award winning architecture can be celebrated and enjoyed.

For details of SMSTS in and around London visit Heffron Safety.

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