A Bristol City Council housing development has won two prestigious architectural awards and recognition for its sustainability.

Challender Court in Henbury picked up the Royal Institute of Britsh Architects (RIBA) South West Sustainability Award alongside a RIBA South West 2018 accolade.

The project, which comprises of eight one bed properties, was commended for demonstrating a “creative response to the UK’s housing crisis, making excellent use of a constrained brownfield site.”

The homes were designed to meet the Passivhaus building standards which aims to reduce energy usage, during construction and once occupied, by adopting a “fabric first” approach that provides excellent thermal insulation.

This will result in extremely energy efficient properties which will see household utility bills dramatically reduced.

The houses are part of the council’s New Build Housing Programme which began in 2014, regenerating brownfield sites, to provide new high quality homes across the city. The council has completed 81 new homes to date since the start of this programme.

Councillor Paul Smith, Cabinet member for housing, said: “I am delighted to see our innovative use of brownfield sites to provide sustainable, affordable housing, has been recognised.

“All our new council homes are built to high standards, making the best use of land we have available. We are constantly looking for ways to accelerate our build programme even more to address the real shortage of affordable housing in the city.

“I would like to thank our housing team, along with the contractors and architects, for helping to provide much needed housing for the city.

The Mayor of Bristol has set out the commitment of building 2,000 new homes – 800 affordable – a year by 2020. As part of this commitment, the council is not just looking at numbers, but also at the quality of housing and communities created.

As part of the new build programme four sites are under construction, which will provide a further 64 new homes. The council has also obtained consent for a mixed tenure development of 133 new homes at Ashton Vale, 53 of which will be council homes.

All of the sites that form part of Bristol City Council’s new build housing scheme make use of land owned by the Housing Department, with a particular focus on derelict, brownfield sites that can be brought back into use such as former garages and council depots.

Tom Russell, from Emmett Russell Architects, said: “We are thrilled that Challender Court has won these two prestigious awards. It provides recognition that Bristol is leading the way in delivering a new generation of innovative low energy council housing.”

The RIBA South West awards recognise examples of innovative and outstanding new architecture in the region. From a shortlist of 13, and 35 initial entries, the eight award winning 2018 projects range from Bristol to Cornwall.

All the regional award winners will be considered for the RIBA National Awards, with the successful recipients announced in June. Those collecting national awards will then be considered for the RIBA Stirling Prize.

Chair of the South West awards jury, Jo White, said: “Challender Court provides an excellent reference for the sensitive redevelopment of brownfield sites; whilst so much of the industry effort if focussed on large scale development, this scheme demonstrates that an intelligent ‘boutique’ approach has the potential to unlock even the most unpromising sites, to provide attractive, robust and sustainable homes.”

In addition to this current work, the delivery team are also about to start work on Phase 4 of the programme, which will see a further eleven sites brought forward, ready for construction between 2019-21 to allow the rolling programme to continue and support the Mayor’s commitment to housing.

Bristol City Council Press Release