Energy efficiency major factor for Sterling Award nominees

A carbon negative house made of cork and Norwich city council’s recent Passivhaus housing development are among the six nominees for the Royal Institute of British Architects’ (RIBA) Sterling Award, which this year is set to highlight energy efficiency and sustainability in buildings.

The Cork House in Eton, Berkshire, is designed to emit next to zero carbon, while Goldsmith Street in Norwich, which would be the first social-housing project to win the Sterling Award in its 23-year history, is the largest Passivhaus building programme in the UK.

Commenting on the inclusion of Goldsmith Street in the award shortlist, RIBA judges said: "Bringing the reduced energy consumption associated with Passivhaus to mass housing is a great achievement, and one that has taken a large amount of effort and care by the architects."

Judges also praised the innovation of Cork House, adding: "As the first of its type, it is truly exciting to think what this project could inspire within the architectural world."

London Bridge’s redeveloped train station, The Macallan Distillery in Scotland, The Nevill Holt Opera in Leicestershire and The Western in Yorkshire make up the remainder of the nominees for the prize, which celebrates innovation in British architecture.

The European headquarters of Bloomberg, which is the world's most sustainable office and largest stone building in the City of London, was last year’s winner.

The award’s focus on energy efficiency follows the recent launch of Architects Declare, a call to arms from a large group of previous Stirling prize winners for an urgent “paradigm shift” to ditch carbon-hungry practices.

The movement, which currently has over 500 signatures from the world of architecture and construction, claims that, alongside clients, designers and builders need to commission and design buildings, cities and infrastructures as indivisible components of a larger, constantly regenerating and self-sustaining system.

“The research and technology exist for us to begin that transformation now, but what has been lacking is collective will. Recognising this, we are committing to strengthen our working practices to create architecture and urbanism that has a more positive impact on the world around us,” Architects Declare stated.

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