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18 March 2005
Greenwich Millennium Village (GMV) and Elmington Estate were among just five schemes nationally to be recently awarded a Building for Life Standard for excellence in design quality. They bring Countryside Properties total of Building for Life Standards to five which is more than any other developer.
The Building for Life Standard, backed by CABE, the Government, the housing industry and the Civic Trust, is a measure of excellence that sets the benchmark for housing developments in the UK.
Announcing the awards, John Sorrell CABE Chairman, said:
'Only 17% of the schemes assessed in CABE's Housing Audit last year were judged to be well designed. The Building for Life Standard award proves that there are some house builders doing exceptional work across the country. But, we have still got a long way to go. Most local authorities and house builders need to raise their game and learn from these winning schemes.'
Maurer Court in phase 1 of GMV has received the Building for Life Gold Standard:
The judges were extremely impressed with GMV and considered it 'one of the few developments in the UK that we could show on the continent as an example of best practise'.
CABE added, 'Ralph Erskine's practice, Erskine Tovatt, together with EPR Architects designed the three buildings that form Maurer Court. The vaulted and varied rooflines with colourful external balconies create a bold visual statement. The judges highlighted the well-detailed eclectic architecture and good features such as anti-graffiti brickwork and secure internal bike stations. Landscaping and environmental features were noted by the judges; the pleasant courtyard combines planting and communal seating with semi-private rear gardens. Many of the apartments are dual aspect with views into the courtyard as well as the river, thus maximising solar gain which saves on heating costs. Maurer Court uses materials requiring low levels of energy in production and minimum wastage during construction. Off-site manufacture was adopted for bathroom units which were delivered as complete rooms. The concrete framed building uses metal stick infill panels also manufactured off-site. Greenwich Millennium Village, one of seven Millennium Communities managed by national regeneration agency English Partnerships, already has a thriving community and real sense of neighbourhood. English Partnerships has funded the remediation, infrastructure and landscaping for the whole Greenwich Peninsula site and have provided facilities, including a new school and health centre to help bind the new community.
Elmington Estate Regeneration, Southwark, London has been awarded the Building for Life Silver Standard:
The judges commended the 'ambition and aspiration of a strong and robust development.'
The development was driven entirely by the local authority, London Borough of Southwark with partners Laing Partnership and Countryside Properties. This first phase is the result of a close harmonious working partnership of two architectural practices, BPTW Partnership & Pollard Thomas Edwards Architects.
CABE added, 'It is a major urban renewal project that has notably defied the pessimism of estate agents by producing 100 news homes in what was once a notorious inner city area. The combination of two-storey houses and three-storey flats re-establishes the basis of a traditional street network, obliterated by 1950s and 1960s redevelopments. Wherever possible the ground floor flats have been given their own street entrance and all dwellings have front gardens, varying in size, but even the smallest can accommodate bicycles and a robust bin store. Galvanised steel balconies ensure that all homes have usable private outdoor space. The judges considered the architectural treatment successful, with two types of red brick and turquoise green glazed bricks contributing to the variety of the elevations. The clever use of relatively inexpensive surface materials for parking and pedestrian areas gives the appearance of very high quality, the local authority 'spent approximately 5% over the housing association budget but it makes a million pounds worth of difference.'
Three other schemes by the Group have already received Building for Life Standards - Abode, Harlow; South at Didsbury Point and St Mary's Island, Chatham Maritime.
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Information correct as at 18/03/2005