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Local Authority housing a "masterpiece"

The prize for Britain’s best new building has been won by a council estate for the first time.

Goldsmith Street in Norwich, a group of 105 Eco-friendly homes commissioned by the local authority, saw off competition from five other shortlisted schemes to claim the 2019 Stirling Prize, awarded by the Royal Institute of British Architects.

It is the largest development in the UK to meet the demanding Passivhaus international energy performance standard, which is expected to reduce fuel bills by as much as 70 per cent.

The walls are highly insulated and the roofs are cleverly angled at 15 degrees, to ensure each terrace doesn’t block sunlight from the homes behind, while letterboxes are built into external porches, rather than the front doors, to reduce any possibility of draughts.

Immense thought has gone into every detail – from the perforated brick balconies to the cleverly interlocking staircases in the three-storey flats at the end of each terrace – to ensure that every home has its own front door on the street. The back gardens look on to a planted alley, dotted with communal tables and benches, while parking has been pushed to the edge of the site, freeing up the streets for people, not cars.

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