Goldsmith Street

Goldsmith Street

Mikhail Riches
Goldsmith Street, Norwich, UK
Project Year
© Tim Crocker

The largest Passivhaus scheme in the UK

Mikhail Riches as Architects

The city of Norwich held an international RIBA Competition in 2008 to select architects and the right scheme for the site, which Riches Hawley Mikhail won. The original intention was to sell the site to a local housing provider and the design team agreed beforehand. The development had been on hold since the financial crash. However, the City has now decided to develop the site itself, without a housing association or development partner. With approximately 100 new homes being provided, with about 50 individual houses, and 50 flats, this represents a significant new departure for the City.

Urban strategies
The design seeks to re-introduce streets and houses in an area of the city which is otherwise dominated by 20th century blocks of flats. The popular Golden and Silver Triangles, areas of highly desirable late 19th century terraced housing, is within 5 minutes’ walk.

Existing green links are to be reinforced with a landscape scheme which extends beyond the boundaries of the site to include local roads and a park. Street widths are intentionally narrow at 14m, emulating the 19th Century model. Parking is on street and a 20mph speed limit is to be applied.

A shared ‘alley’ encouraging small children’s play and communal gathering is accessible from back gardens – a secure place which only key holders (residents) can access.

House Design
Our scheme is dense and low rise. We provided many more houses than other schemes, which were mainly flats – thus better values from the site. Future maintenance has been minimised by designing flats whereby every flat has a front door onto the street, with its own staircase and lobby at street level – designing out all internal common parts.

Mostly two storeys, houses are given the occasional dormer to provide a third bedroom. Most of the principle rooms, face south. Generous kitchen / dining rooms form the heart of each house.

This is a Low Carbon scheme, where all houses and flats face South and are on target to achieve full ‘Passivhaus’ Certification. We understand this would be the largest social housing scheme in the UK to achieve Passivhaus. The design seeks to provide sunny, light filled homes with very low fuel bills of approximately £150 per year. In the main these properties will be socially rented.

RIBA Stirling Prize 2019
RIBA Neave Brown for Housing 2019
Housing Design Awards – Overall Winner 2019
Housing Design Awards – Good Neighbour Award 2019
RIBA Stirling Prize Midlist 2019
RIBA National Award 2019
RIBA East Award 2019
RIBA East – Sustainability Award 2019
Housing Design Award (Project) 2016
RIBA Regional Award 2019

Project Team
David Mikhail, Annalie Riches, Cathy Hawley, Henry Wootton, James Turner, Tillmann de Graaff, Alim Saleh, Cameron Clarke, Tom McGlynn, Sumi Michiko

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