Forest Gate townhouses scoop RIBA's Neave Brown award for 'affordable' housing

This townhouse complex in Stratford has been named a winner too.

This townhouse complex in Stratford has won the Neave Brown award for housing from RIBA. - Credit: Morley von Sternberg

A corner of Forest Gate has been awarded a prize for "affordable" housing by the the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

The housing complex in McGrath Road designed by Peter Barber Architects was named winner of the Neave Brown award for housing 2021 on Thursday, October 14.

Named after the architect behind the Grade II*-listed Alexandra Road Estate in South Hampstead, the award recognises the UK’s best "affordable" housing.

Mr Brown, who died in January 2018, is widely regarded as a pioneer of social housing.

mcgrath road

The series of townhouses comprise 26 three and four-storey dwellings with social rent, 'affordable' rent and shared ownership tenures. - Credit: Morley von Sternberg

The townhouses linked by a communal courtyard are made up of 26 three and four-storey dwellings with social rent, "affordable" rent and shared ownership tenures.

David Mikhail, who chairs the Neave Brown award for housing jury, said: "In addition to its sheer inventiveness, this project has made a huge contribution to the wider area - projecting its optimism whilst managing to feel neighbourly.

"The architects have moulded a place of character both within the scheme and the community it serves.

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"It demonstrates how imaginative street-based architecture can be socially progressive and architecturally engaging – a combination that endears Peter Barber Architects’ work to so many people."

All the houses have balconies with private terraces and a living room on the top floor to show off views across the capital.

mcgrath road

The development challenges 'conventional housing configurations' and sets a new standard for high-quality 'affordable' housing, RIBA says. - Credit: Morley von Sternberg

RIBA president Simon Allford said: "Intelligent, dynamic and original – this unique configuration of housing has the McGrath Road community at its heart.

"It’s an exemplar of high-quality social housing within one of London’s most densely populated boroughs and demonstrates what can – and must – be achieved across the country.

"It would, I am sure, have been championed by the late, great Neave Brown."

Mr Mikhail was the winner of the 2019 award. He was joined on the jury by the chief exec of non-profit Public Practice, Pooja Agrawal, as well as Mark Swenarton, representing Mr Brown's family.

In August, English National Ballet's base near Canning Town, designed by Glenn Howells Architects, was named the RIBA London building of the year.

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