RIBA Launches New Housing Award

John Hill
31. January 2019
Photo: Morley von Sternberg

Named for the recipient of the 2018 Royal Gold Medal, RIBA's Neave Brown Award for Housing is aimed at "raising the bar and recognizing good-quality, sustainable housing that will meet the needs of current and future generations."

Brown was given the 2018 Royal Gold Medal in October 2017 and died at the age of 88 the following January. Both the award and obituaries recognized the strides Brown made in housing, particularly in his best known project, the Alexandra Road estate. Built in London's Camden district in the 1970s, the estate is recognizable for its curving pedestrian route between terraced concrete housing blocks. 

Alexandra Road turned out to be his last UK project though, as a two-year-long public inquiry over spending soured his name. "Nobody is going to employ an architect who has had a public inquiry into their work," he told Architects' Journal in 2017. "I never did another building in England as a consequence of that." 

In effect, the Royal Gold Medal and Neave Brown Award for Housing undo decades of neglect around the architect's reputation, similar to the way his housing projects are now more beloved and are even being restored by their residents. Whatever the case, we're curious to see what projects are shortlisted for the inaugural award come July.

Alexandra Road estate (Photo courtesy of RIBA)

A shortlist of six projects for the inaugural Neave Brown Award for Housing will be announced in late July with the winner announced at the RIBA Stirling Prize ceremony in October. Per RIBA, criteria for eligible projects include:

  • Winners of 2019 RIBA Regional Awards. 
  • A project of ten or more homes completed and occupied between 1 November 2016 and 1 February 2019. 
  • One third of the housing should be affordable and should demonstrate evidence of meeting the challenge of housing affordability.

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