Housing Design Awards Magazine
The annual Housing Design Awards need no introduction, and nor does the concise, well-produced volume documenting the cream of UK housing. Utilising the iPhone/iPad’s features you can clearly view the fantastic architectural photography and large legible plans, these highly regarded publications form an excellent set of reference tools for professionals and enthusiasts alike.
The Housing Design Awards has a prestigious and illustrious history going back more than 60 years. The awards are promoted by Communities and Local Government, NHBC, the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Royal Town Planning Institute, the Homes and Communities Agency, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, the Department of Health, Design for London and the London Development Agency.
Awards are made at two stages; for projects of great potential where the scheme has detailed planning permission but is not yet finished and occupied; and for completed schemes of outstanding merit.
In 1947 Aneurin Bevan, then UK Minister for Health with responsibility for housing, announced that his Ministry would be giving annual awards for public housing design and layout.
The initial scheme ran until 1955, and during this period awards reflected the increasing importance of the urban reconstruction and New Towns programmes, including the first high rise developments.
In 1960, the scheme was reconstituted as the Ministry of Housing and Local Government (later DoE) Good Design in Housing Awards, sponsored jointly with the RIBA. The new scheme covered both private and public sector housing, reflecting the emergence of imaginative speculative developments.
The next ten years showed a significant shift of emphasis away from public sector high density high rise and private sector low density low rise to compact housing schemes in both sectors.
In 1981 the NHBC joined the DoE and the RIBA as sponsors, to create the Housing Design Awards. The Awards became a biennial event, and the public and private sector categories were abolished.
Eight years later, the RTPI joined the Awards Committee as a fourth sponsor, and a new system of Project Award was instituted, running in tandem with the awards for completed schemes. In 1997 the two were merged as an annual event, with an exhibition of approximately 60 selected entries drawn from both categories. Since the mid 1990s the major housebuilders have been winning an ever larger percentage of awards which reflects their move into undertaking more bespoke or semi bespoke development.
In recent years there has been an emphasis on the role of local authorities in helping to bring forward good quality housing. Since 2005 the planning authority has been awarded alongside developer, architect and contractor. The annual presentation ceremony also moved to a lunchtime function in Whitehall, to reflect government’s patronage of the Awards and to allow more people to attend the ceremony, notably planning authorities from outside the South East.
In 2009 the newly formed HCA joined the Awards as a full partner, reflecting its role in delivering a national housing programme in partnership with both local authorities and the private sector.
2010 saw the welcome return of the Department of Health as an Awards partner, some 62 years after they were launched by Nye Bevan. A special award will be presented each year to a scheme offering a more attractive option for housing our ageing population.
2010 also saw the important addition of the RICS, the housing industry’s largest professional body. It means the awards are genuinely a cross industry partnership between various arms of government, the private sector and all the professional institutions. No other housing awards have the mandate to call themselves “the industry’s Housing Design Awards”.
*Back and future issues can be purchased within the App.
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