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Architecture Watch: Housing Dev Scores Sterling Prize

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This winner of this year's Stirling Prize—the most prestigious architecture award in Britain—is Accordia, a housing development in Cambridge designed by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Alison Brooks Architects, and Maccreanor Lavington Architects. In a rare instance (here, anyway), the project's planners insisted that the developers hire talented architects to create a contemporary, comfortable and, it turns out, understated design— surprising, given that many judges were hoping to hand the award to the decidedly not-subtle Zaha Hadid. But others defended it, and in the end, the judges comments almost made the project sound Utopian:

“This is high density housing at its very best, demonstrating that volume house-builders can deliver high quality architecture – and that as a result they can improve their own bottom line. The whole scheme is about relationships: between architect and developer/contractor/client; between three very different firms of architects... and between private and public external spaces, providing a new model for outside-inside life with interior rooftop spaces, internal courtyards and large semi-public community gardens.”
Even better? The housing development actually works. And the residents actually like living there.
· Accordia Living [website]
· Accordia wins Stirling Prize [Dezeen]
· Stirling Prize revellers give their thoughts on the winners [Architect's Journal]