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2008 Manser Medal Winner Breaks New Ground in Sustainable Housing, says The Rooflight Company

2008 Manser Medal Winner Breaks New Ground in Sustainable Housing, says The Rooflight Company

For the first time, the shortlist for the prestigious prize included private or social housing developments as well as individual houses. The unanimous winner of the £5,000 Manser Medal was Oxley Woods by Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners – a development of 145 dwellings in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, designed to be affordable and sustainable.

For the first time, the shortlist for the prestigious prize included private or social housing developments as well as individual houses. The unanimous winner of the £5,000 Manser Medal was Oxley Woods by Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners – a development of 145 dwellings in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, designed to be affordable and sustainable.

Commenting on the award, Val King, Co-Chair of The Rooflight Company, says: “All of the shortlisted projects were exceptionally good, but this development represents a step change in the way housing developments can be achieved. By taking a different approach to design and construction, the project partners successfully created housing which is affordable, sustainable and above all, the kind that people want to live in!”

Key features of the winning project included imaginative use of natural lighting; balconies and terraces in place of traditional gardens; and filtered ventilation systems which reduce energy costs.
The result is a development which King believes should set the benchmark for future housing developments in the UK. She says: “For too many years housing has followed early 20th century principles, in particular traditional fenestrations patterns. People in the 21st century require a different approach. Conventional construction methods just aren’t feasible when taking into account government targets for future new build developments.”
Expanding on the natural light theme, which ran through all of this year’s shortlisted projects, King comments: “People in the 21st century now spend as much as 90% of their time indoors, sometimes with exposure to sunlight for less than an hour a day. This situation worsens over the winter months, when people commonly leave for and return from work in the dark, yet the benefits of sunlight and the profound ways it can affect a person’s wellbeing are scientifically established. Daylighting also offers passive solar gain, contributing towards a reduction in energy consumption and carbon emissions.

“Architects and housebuilding developers now have the opportunity to incorporate a variety of natural lighting options into their designs in order to provide this much needed (and free) resource. The architects on the Manser Medal shortlist are to be congratulated on the novel ways in which they achieved this.”

2008 is the second year of the Rooflight’s Company’s sponsorship of the Manser Medal. Commenting on the sponsorship, King says: “The Manser Medal encourages good design, resulting in the excellent standard we see year after year from architects entering the award. With our own great history of innovation, quality and leadership in its field, The Rooflight Company is proud to continue to support such innovation and excellence in architecture and design.”

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