Goldsmith Street

Winner of the 2019 Stirling Prize, Goldsmith Street by architect Mikhail Riches sets a new bar for social housing design.

About this project

Constructed from timber frame, the RIBA Stirling Prize winner and overall winner for 2019’s Housing Design Awards is the largest Passivhaus Certified scheme in the UK. 

A 100% social housing scheme for Norwich City Council, the development shows that it is possible to design for sustainable high density living at low scale. Providing a mix of 40 two-bed houses, five four-bed houses and 60 one and two bed flats, every property has its own front door at street level. A carefully planned streetscape incorporates shared communal areas and safe spaces for children to play.

The properties are built to Passivhaus standards and provide sunny, light-filled homes with expected fuel bills of about £150 per year. All the terraces face south, which allows them to maximise solar gain while shading provides protection from the high summer sun. 

Use of timber

The properties were constructed by RG Carter using timber insulated panels manufactured offsite by Cygnum Building Offsite. Using the Cygnum Passive system, good timber frame engineering delivered an economic design with less materials. In addition, the design of the building’s thermal envelope allowed more room for insulation, while keeping the thickness of the walls and roof as slim as possible.

90% of the trades employed on the site were located within a 40-mile radius of the site, adding value to the local economy and reducing the need for long-distance travel.

At the Housing Design Awards 2019, the then Minister of State for Housing and Planning, Kit Malthouse said: “This is exactly the sort of development we are looking for…it all hangs together to show that it is possible to create dense housing, on a gentle basis, that is both beautiful and liveable and human in scale.”


RIBA Stirling Prize 2019

Housing Design Awards 2019

RIBA East Award 2019

Further information

Images: Tim Crocker

Key contacts


Mikhail Riches


Norwich City Council


RG Carter

Timber frame

Cygnum Building Offsite

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