Would you have thought you would win the Stirling Prize?
Riches: "We really had no idea that we won, nobody winked at us, I was hoping to win an award – either the Customer of the Year or the Neave Brown Award for Housing – but winning two was pretty incredible. I already had 49 lyrics, I did not know that I knew so many people. "
"Without the customer, we would not have been able to complete this project." It is a fight for high quality living.
They won the design competition for Goldsmith Street 11 years ago. How much has changed during this time?
Riches: "The final scheme is very similar to our 2008 contest entry [then as Riches Hawley Mikhail Architects], We have decided to design a passive solar system. Contracting Passive House with it means extra work. But we have not changed the basic principles.
"In the competitive phase, we questioned the overlooked distances for us to have [narrower] 14 m wide roads. We were lucky enough to have someone in the jury's planning department join this challenge. otherwise we would have had 21 m wide streets and blocks of flats. "
Kikhail Hawley Wealth original contest entry view from Goldsmiths Road
Did you borrow any ideas from any of your other plans?
Riches: "We had already tried a similar roof profile at Clay Field in Elmswell [which completed in 2008], It's about the angle of the winter sun. "
Mikhail: "We did not see it before we did Clay Field, we sorted it out somehow, and Buro Happold advised us, and Buro Happold did a re-evaluation of the scheme as a two-year, really thorough study.
This raised many fascinating facts about how the inhabitants used it, etc. What Really the solar orientation was worked on.
"There were things that did not work – like the biomass boiler and district heating, but we benefited from that knowledge in Norwich."
The greatest joy of the evening was the traditional contract of the system. But you had to cut costs. How did you do that without compromising quality?
Mikhail: "We had to save two million pounds on a 14 million pound project, which is not an easy task. However, value engineering was a really good process.
Our client had decided not to follow the planning and construction path. While we worked with a contractor, we were not led by them.
The contractor, however, had good ideas. For example, many of the three-bedroom houses had dormers. The contractor pointed out that working at height is very expensive. So we changed the three-bedroom houses into two-bedroom houses without skylights that were actually quite content with the needs of the council.
"But we have guided [the process], The customer also paid us for our effort. Once again unheard of. So we could take the initiative. We struggled to find suitable roof tiles to sit at 15 degrees. It was just too flat. But we found some amazing pantiles in Belgium that are similar to those of Norwich. And that saved us 300,000 pounds; It was a breeze.
"Instead of getting rid of a big deal, the whole team was very granular. We found many ways to do the same things, but cheaper. '
Riches: "The customer has done unusual things. I did not want to say "brave" [on stage when receiving the award] because I did not want to deter other local authorities.
"But they made some very unusual decisions and that has enabled us to make Goldsmith Street the way it is.
Architects want a traditional job because they want quality
"With design and build, you can realize good projects, but you can not guarantee them." So if you want to guarantee good quality, you have to use a traditional contract. And what's wrong with the traditional contract?
"Architects want a traditional mission because they want quality. We do not make money with it [this way], But that was a courageous decision for her. '
What kind of message does this profit send into the wide world?
Mikhail: "There is one bigger message the customer sends out: local authorities can do great things with the right team. They were long-term in terms of materials and sustainability because fuel poverty is important to them.
"We hear about the residents, and some of them come from poor private owners for whom they paid more and were miserable. But the good feeling we get from the residents is just unbelievable.
"However, I'm honest, if it had not been for the social housing, we would have designed the scheme as well." People are people. & # 39;
Is this scheme replicable?
Mikhail: "Very much. It is a very dense project: 100 houses per hectare are being delivered for £ 2,200 / m². The building is low, with social connectivity and sustainability in the center.
"But it's a relatively low car usage. Therefore, it can not be reproduced anywhere – not in places where people are stranded without public transport and half a liter of milk is half an hour's drive away.
"However, there are plenty of city and village borders where it would be.
"We are now working with York, which has similar ambitions, as a delivery architect for 600 apartments together. They too have a green agenda. "
Is there a specific thing you would do again in other dwellings?
Wealth: "The Ginnels – the side streets. We have tried to convince other customers to provide this unmanaged, communal, semi-private and semi-public space. But it is always perceived as too much risk.
"Norwich has decided to give it a try, but the best feedback we've received from people is how it has enabled their children to make friends." We almost lost her.
Mikhail: "The provider of social housing, who was the original customer, wanted to get rid of them."
Riches: "Those were the ways to the dumpster shops, so we have [insisted we] she had to keep. "
Mikhail: "That has allowed us to enlarge it and make it a bit more sociable. So we managed secretly to bring them in. As soon as Norwich was on board as a final customer, they were on board with the Ginnels – after raising a few eyebrows from their maintenance department.
They were a great customer. While they do not have the resources of Network Rail at London Bridge, they are exactly what we need. Smart people. & # 39;
Goldsmith Street by Mikhail Riches with Cathy Hawley 4
Could the result have an impact on government policy?
Mikhail: "We literally showed the minister [Robert Jenrick, who was at the Stirling Prize ceremony] how it goes. And [government officials] Everyone goes too. We had the Ministry of Housing. Communities and communities come down two or three times – and they've included it in their new design guide. We had a tree planted by Esther McVey.
We were worried when Roger Scruton wrote an article about us. In fact, Peter Barber and we are praised by a right-wing philosopher. I'm not sure how to find that. "
The system consists of 100 percent social housing? That's very rare. How was it achieved?
Mikhail: "Yes, systems usually only have 30 to 40 percent social pension. As far as I know, the local council has an income account for housing – the rent they receive from the apartments they currently have. For the first time in many years, the new guidelines allowed them to build apartments with this money.
"What's unusual is that they do it themselves and not registered providers. [Doing it like this however] means they can be in control and make decisions about how it should be. "
Which of the other shortlisted programs would you have wanted to win?
Mikhail: "I loved the low-carbon thinking and execution of Cork House. If I had wished for a project, it would have been this. But in all there was something. I loved the diversity of this year's list. "
What does it mean for the practice to win the Stirling Prize?
Mikhail: "I do not know, I did not think so far, we would like to do socially engaged, ecologically engaged, beautiful work, that does not just mean living – we were easily typed.
"I do not think we'll ever be massive, we do not see 100 people here, we're not interested in growth.
& # 39; things are changing. I was so "uncooperative" – and recently. Someone has to do it. "