Feilden Clegg Bradley's surprise win shows 'volume house builders can deliver high quality architecture', say RIBA judges

Feilden Clegg Bradley's Accordia housing scheme has won the 2008 RIBA Stirling prize.

The Cambridge development, designed by FCB with Alison Brooks Architects and Macreanor Lavington, was awarded the prize on Saturday evening at a ceremony in Liverpool. Countryside Properties was the developer behind Accordia, and it was built by Japanese contractor Kajima.

Accordia was shortlisted alongside bookies' favourites the Westminster Academy by AHMM and Denton Corker Marshall's Manchester Civil Justice Centre.

Feilden Clegg Bradley's winning Accordia housing scheme in Cambridge

It was the first time the prestigious prize has been awarded to a housing scheme, and the judges were quick to say its success should be noted by housebuilders.

In a statement, they said: “This is high density housing at its very best, demonstrating that volume house builders can deliver high quality architecture - and that as a result they can improve their own bottom line.”

Keith Bradley, principal of Feilden Clegg Bradley, said afterwards that he was “surprised but delighted” at the win. He said: “I really thought Westminster Academy would win. When we first heard our name, I couldn't quite believe it. I'm really just pleased that places we all live and work in were recognised in these awards: houses, schools, train stations. Having schools on the shortlist is very important.”

Alison Brooks said of Accordia: “It is an exemplar project of new volume housebuilding, and proof that new ideas can be incorporated into large housing projects. I think it sends the message too that good housing should be places to live, not just short-term investment.”

RIBA president Sunand Prasad presented the architects with the prize. He said: “All of these projects have one thing in common: a multidisciplinary team with architecture at the centre, but with a very good relationship with the client. It is a relationship that is at the heart of the best buildings, and we must not have procurement systems that damage that.”