Now that the dust has settled, we must wait and see what effect a housing development winning the Stirling prize will have on the sector.
Talk on the night revolved around Accordia’s win being a gauntlet thrown down to challenge housebuilders to take design seriously. In spite of some developers’ claims, there are still many in the industry who believe that good design is far from a priority in volume housebuilding.
This summer, the RIBA successfully lobbied for the new Homes and Communities Agency to have a statutory duty to contribute to design quality in new housing. It can only be hoped that Accordia’s win will contribute to the dialogue between planners, developers and architects on bringing good design to new developments.
The problem, of course, is that housebuilders at the moment are likely to be thinking less about architectural achievements than basic survival.
Alison Brooks said after winning the award that housebuilding should be about creating places to live rather than creating short-term investment opportunities.
It is the failure of those very opportunities that has created the financial hellhole in which the housebuilders now find themselves. A focus on quality rather than quantity might help rectify that imbalance when the industry eventually returns to good health.
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