Liverpool City Region Townhouse of the Future competition winners announced

The winners of the Liverpool City Region’s Townhouse of the Future competition have been announced, as part of the inaugural Liverpool Architecture Festival, supported by Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram.

The competition attracted 52 entries from nationally and internationally renowned architects and was judged by a panel led by Stirling Prize-winning architect and Liverpool City Region Design Champion Paul Monaghan.

Also among the judges were Grand Designs TV presenter Kevin McCloud and the government’s chief planning officer, Joanna Averley.

The competition – to find a realistic design for an energy-efficient family home that could be taken forward as a deliverable scheme – was open to architects and students across the UK and offers a first prize of £4,000 with £1,000 for the runner-up.

In addition to the winners of the first and second prizes, a People’s Choice winner was identified following more than 1,300 views of an online video featuring the designs, and more than 1,000 votes in an online poll.

First prize went to Studio Mutt, based in Liverpool and London, in collaboration with Solidspace for their Back to Life design, a “classic interpretation of the terrace house and mews”.

The second prize went to Neighbourhood for their 21st-century reinterpretation of the back-to-back terraced house, called Front to Front.

The People’s Choice Winner was Laura Nica, who designed a back-to-back house with a vision for family housing that optimised space and sustainable living.

Speaking about the awards, Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:

“The pandemic has seen a massive – and maybe lasting – change to the we way live our lives and view our homes. Throughout lockdown our homes became a myriad of different things: offices, gyms, bakeries, and a whole other world of possibilities.

“We launched the Townhouse competition to channel those new possibilities into a vision for the future. We challenged contestants to think about the best way to design the family home of the future, incorporating the new normal into a space that could also be a great place to live too.

“It’s fantastic to see a local firm, Studio Mutt crowned as the winners. Our region has historically been home to some stunning architecture and radical innovations in housing, often setting the standards for others to follow. The world is changing rapidly after the pandemic, and I know that our region will have a big role to play in shaping it for the better.”

Design Champion Paul Monaghan, a Stirling Prize-winning architect and founding partner of sponsors Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, said:

“This has been the perfect opportunity for us all to think about how the last 18 months have changed our perception of home.

“We have had a really breath-taking response to the competition, with some fascinating ideas and high-quality plans, with really innovative solutions for creating hybrid spaces, addressing the climate crisis and nods to the rich architectural heritage of our city region.”

Completing the judging panel were Plus Dane Housing Group’s former chief executive Barbara Spicer CBE, James Soane, director of Project Orange Architecture, Hazel Rounding, director of Shed KM Architects and Lifa Zvimbande, Regional Director of RIBA North West.

The Liverpool Architecture Festival opened on October 4 at the Liverpool Royal Court Theatre and included a two-week programme of lectures, workshops, walking and building tours, open studios and a symposium on the potential listed buildings of the future.

The Liverpool Townhouse competition brief challenged entrants to design a high-density family home, providing an efficient use of land with facilities that address the impact of the Covid pandemic.

Entrants were also asked to include private amenity space, secure cycle parking, home office space as well as to incorporate climate mitigation measures.

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