Welcome to Europan, the competition in which young European architects design housing schemes for 74 sites across the continent. Here are the designs that triumphed in the UK
As a celebration of design talent, the Europan competition has come to resemble the European Song Contest, albeit focused on serious, permanent housing rather than amusing ways of arranging the words boom, banga and dweeble.
The competition is aimed at young architects, many of whom join forces on an informal basis to submit schemes while maintaining their day jobs in established practices.
This year's competition is the eighth since Europan was inaugurated in 1990. It has been entered by designers from 19 countries who've produced schemes for 74 sites. The winners scoop prizes of *12,000 (£8200) each, with *6000 (£4100) going to the runners-up.
This year, the UK had three sites up for development and 74 entries to choose from. The winners, whose schemes are described in the captions, will be holding their breath to see if they will be built: none ever has in the UK.
To avoid another disappointment, the UK's winners are to be backed by CABE, English Partnerships, the Housing Corporation and the ODPM. It was these entities that came up with the sites, all of which are within the government's sustainable communities programme, and they have lined up the necessary housing associations and funding.
So here they are …
Parkland Community, Oldham
The brief was to regenerate a rundown area of 19th-century housing as part of Oldham and Rochdale’s urban market housing renewal pathfinder. The winning scheme is by Alexander Franklin, Phil Catcheside, James White, Rachel Basha, Harry Dobbs, Geoffrey Morrow, Lloyd Woolnough and Michael Guin. Their scheme is intended to be a reworking of the traditional northern terraced house, but expressed as a loose grid pattern that can cope with changing household types. As a result, the streetscape is defined by shifting 3D facades, including outward-projecting upper rooms, rather than straightforward linear blocks.
Stonebridge, north-west London
The brief was to combine a park with new houses within the unpopular Stonebridge estate. The winning scheme, by Witherford Watson Mann Architects of London, deploys a series of external playspaces around Alsop & Partners’ colourful nursery and commonly used routes through the site. On one side, a housing terrace is broken in two to accommodate the pathway. In contrast to the complex external spaces, the housing blocks are restrained and quietly confident.
Two runners-up, but no winner, were selected, as the judges felt there was a lack of understanding of Milton Keynes’ city plan. The idea is for the runners-up to work up their schemes with CABE and English Partnerships.
“Townscape” by Marta Mnich and Lukasz Wojciechowski of Poland combines a mix of housetypes in a staggered series of rows, providing a varied roofline.
“Lost Garden City Found” by Richard Henson, Kristina Lundvall and James Payne adopts the Scandinavian villa typology. Flats with spacious rooms share a generous stairwell in each villa and communal gardens outside.