People’s vote for townhouse of the future as Liverpool Architecture Festival opens

People across the Liverpool City Region (LCR) have been asked to name their favourite design for a townhouse of the future.

Residents are being asked to choose from 51 architectural plans, submitted to a competition as part of the inaugural Liverpool Architecture Festival, supported by Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram.

A panel of experts, led by LCR Design Champion Paul Monaghan and including Grand Designs TV presenter Kevin McCloud, will judge the entries.

The competition – to find a realistic design for an energy-efficient family home which could be taken forward as a deliverable scheme – is 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, an online poll will decide which design will win the people’s vote.

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region said:

“The massive increase in people working from home during the pandemic has led to a lot of us rethinking our homes. No longer just a place for sleeping, our homes have become offices, gyms and much more too.

“I supported the Liverpool Architecture Festival because I believe that it’s vital that we rethink the way we design and build across our region. The townhouse competition will be a really interesting first step toward that, with entrants looking to design the affordable, environmentally friendly and comfortable home of the future.

“We can’t build back better unless we start to build better too – and I’m sure this contest will help show us what that looks like.”

The Liverpool Architecture Festival opened on Monday (4 October) at the Liverpool Royal Court Theatre and began 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 challenges entrants to design a high-density family home which provides an efficient use of land with facilities that address the impact of the Covid pandemic.

It should also include private amenity space, secure cycle parking, home office space and needs to incorporate climate mitigation measures.

Paul Monaghan - LCR Design Champion

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

“We have had a fantastic response with a wide variety of innovative solutions in terms of home working and the climate crisis as well as designs reflecting the influence of the unique architectural heritage of the City Region.

“There is a lot for the panel to talk about when we meet but we thought it was important to broaden the conversation to include the views of the public.

“The experiences of the pandemic and lockdowns makes now the perfect opportunity to think about how the last 18 months have changed our perception of home so we would really like to know what people think of the way professionals see the challenge.”

A video showcasing the 51 submitted entries has been created with QR codes to allow people to select their favourite.

Images of the entries will also be posted on the glass walls of the LCR offices at 1, Mann Island for the public to view.

People have until 15 October to register their choice.

Mr Monaghan, who designed the Alder Centre, which offers bereavement counselling at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, will be joined by Grand Designs TV presenter Kevin McCloud and the government’s chief planning officer, Joanna Averley.

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

To see the designs go to the LCR YouTube channel and the register your vote click here.

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