Winner — William Birch & Eco Arc Architects
Could this possibly be the most challenging design brief ever? Overhaul an isolated, abandoned mill in West Yorkshire to be carbon neutral and handle 100,000 visitors each year without connecting to any national grids or using any fossil fuels – only renewable resources available on-site. By a cunning combination of wood-burning boilers, sheeps’ wool and newspaper insulation, solar energy and hydro power – from the original turbine no less – William Birch & Eco Arc Architects managed to deliver exactly what the National Trust wanted. They were so grateful they called it: “… a beacon for how we can all lead our lives in a more frugal and sustainable way”.
Never throw away another yoghurt pot: they could be your passport to having marble-like sink surrounds, at least if what Architype has done at The Genesis Centre for Somerset College can be believed. This is one element in a building that, although technically a conference centre, is actually a showcase for all things green and edgy.
Anne Thorne Architects
The Granville Plus community and day-centre scheme in north London is, like The Genesis Centre, intended to convince people of the merits of green building technologies. However, its target market is likely to be slightly harder to win over. Anne Thorne Architects have gone about the task for South Kilburn NDC with gusto, though, and an interactive screen telling the children whether they are using power generated by the two wind turbines or the solar panels at any moment in time.
Imagine a world where we can no longer rely on fossil fuels for our energy. Instead, all we have is … us. Sounds far-fetched but these theories are in fact already being put into practice in a pilot four-bungalow social housing scheme at Honingham. Architect SEArch freely admits that its design depends greatly on capturing the sun’s warming rays and trapping them inside the buildings’ concrete superstructures and beneath earth and vegetation insulation. It seems to work however, despite the fact that the “occupants and their activities” are given as the main internal source of heat.
This was an interesting and risky project: an attempt by a private developer to market homes designed to specifically “prove that green housing design can be inspiring”. Oh, and sell, too. The 12 units at Langport in Somerset were split into two equal terraces by architect Stride Treglown. They were positioned to best catch the sun and then rammed full of thermal panels, photovoltaic panels, recycled bricks, and, yes, old newspapers as insulation. Punters obviously liked what they saw as almost all of the homes were snapped up before they were even finished.
The Sustainability Awards 2006
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Sustainable building of the year, less than £2m