Norwich Council Houses
Given each year by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the Stirling Prize distinguishes the best works built by British architects or studios in the European Union. In 2019 the award went to the council houses on Goldsmith Street in Norwich, designed by the studio Mikhail Riches with Cathy Hawley, a work that, unlike what has happened in previous editions of the prize, has received unanimous praise. In fact, critics like Oliver Wainwright have referred to it, literally, as “a masterpiece,” representing, in words of the prize judges, “high-quality architecture in its purest most environmentally and socially conscious form.” Not only because of its housing program, which links up with the best democractic sensibility of the United Kingdom, and its energy efficiency, but especially its contained architecture that turns its relationship with the city, the urban scale, and materiality into its key arguments. The other five shortlisted works were the Macallan Distillery, by Rogers Stirk Harbour; the Nevill Holt Opera, by Witherford Watson Mann; the Cork House, by Matthew Barnett Howland; the London Bridge Station, by Grimshaw; and The Weston, by Feilden Fowles.