Liverpool Townhouse Competition Winner Announced

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, has announced the winners of a competition to transform vacant terraces in Liverpool.

The Liverpool City Region Townhouse of the Future Competition was launched in 2021 to showcase how design can transform the built environment, activate residential properties, and bring communities back to life.

The 2023 competition was organised by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and the City Region Design Champion, Paul Monaghan, with the support of Liverpool City Council and housing and regeneration group, Torus.

Architects from the Liverpool City Region and Warrington were invited to submit innovative design solutions to refurbish a row of eleven vacant terraced houses in the Wavertree area of the city. The proposals were required to prioritise Mayor Rotheram’s net zero by 2040 target and Lifetime Homes standards as part of the residential redevelopment.

The winning entry from Harrison Stringfellow Architects.

One of the images from the winning entry from Harrison Stringfellow Architects.

Harrison Stringfellow Architects was named First Prize winner, for their ‘Liverpool School of Building’ concept which combined training in green skills for individuals with a sensitive redevelopment, to improve social, economic, and environmental sustainability.

Judge Isabel Allen, Editor of Architecture Today, commented that the design tackles “the tricky issue of how to address historic residential stock when the land value is too low to absorb the costs associated with refurbishment”, and noted the way in which the project combines an enjoyment of the historic façade through repurposing the ground floor bay window as the main entrance with a strategy of using MMC to create modern well-insulated homes.”

Commenting on the awards, Mayor Steve Rotheram said: 

“We challenged some of the most creative and forward-thinking minds in architecture to design a more sustainable way of living in a modern, 21st century city region like ours – and the results have been incredible! As a former brickie, I know how complex a project like this can be and I take my hat off to all the entrants for the innovative designs and solutions they’ve come up with. 

“The winning design had sustainability at its heart – and that’s going to be vital if we’re serious about hitting our ambitious target to reach net zero by 2040 – at least a decade before national government targets. 

“Currently, nearly a third of all our region’s carbon emissions come from domestic properties and, despite the millions we’re investing into my robust retrofitting programme, we know there’s still a lot more work to do to make all our homes cheaper and easier to heat – without heating the planet too. 

“Innovative solutions like this one will not only have a massive part to play in helping us to keep our domestic emissions down – but in protecting and enhancing our area’s precious architectural heritage for future generations as well.” 

Second place was awarded to Mors + Harte Architects, whose design focussed on homes that had ample access to outside space and structures that could adapt over time, to accommodate occupants’ evolving needs over a lifetime. Judge Mairi Johnson, Director of Major Projects, National Museums Liverpool considered this entry “the best of several schemes that inserted an internal courtyard into each dwelling”. Group D Architects’ submission ‘Homes for the Community’ was Highly Recommended, for its approach to multi-generational living supported by community amenities.

The judging panel, which included a range of high-profile figures from the built environment industry, welcomed the breadth of design ideas and creative solutions that local architects proposed. The full judging panel included:

  • Sarah Allan, Head of Architecture, Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

  • Isabel Allen, Editor, Architecture Today

  • Christopher Bowen, Managing Director, Torus

  • Jonathan Falkingham – Urban Splash

  • Mairi Johnson, Director of Major Projects, National Museums Liverpool

  • Muyiwa Oki, RIBA President Elect 2023-25

  • Paul Monaghan, Founding Director, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, Liverpool City Region Design Champion

Paul Monaghan, Founding Director, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, and Liverpool City Region Design Champion, said:

“This year we specifically opened this competition to Liverpool and Warrington based architecture studios, who can combine their design expertise with a deep understanding of the local community, to help shape the future of sustainable, residential development.” 

The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority team will promote the design with the aim of securing the opportunity to deliver the designs and collaborate with Liverpool City Region Housing Associations on future commissions.

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