Modular community housing project named winner of Clarion Housing Group’s William Sutton Prize

A modular housing factory with social purpose has been crowned the winner of The William Sutton Prize for Placemaking and Affordable Housing Design at an awards ceremony which took place virtually on 25 March.

Speaking at the event, judging panel member Biljana Savic, Director of The Academy of Urbanism, said  “Once again it has been my absolute pleasure to judge the William Sutton Prize for Excellence in Placemaking and Affordable Housing Design on behalf of the  Academy of Urbanism”. 

Ecomotive and SNUG Homes’ winning proposal is for a construction and training hub in Bristol that will enable residents to co-produce eco-friendly, modular housing in response to local needs. The project will also provide apprenticeship, volunteering and employment opportunities, as well as self-build training and support for community-led housing initiatives. The aim is to use the £20,000 prize fund to scale up a pilot project established in the Lockleaze area of Bristol in 2019. 

Savic continued, “With good quality homes and places being essential in ensuring strong and resilient communities, it was heartening to observe a strong social and community focus in this year’s shortlisted proposals. From the highly commended scheme that tackles the immense challenge of retrofitting the ageing housing stock in a way that puts local residents and homeowners at the heart of the solution, to the winning proposal that creates, in its authors’ words, an “eco-system of community participation based on the co-production of housing to meet real local needs”, the finalists provided a range of inspirational ideas for addressing the affordable housing crisis in the UK and beyond. I hope that the prize will be a catalyst for these great ideas and I look forward to seeing them come to fruition.”

Highly commended was a proposal by Editional Studio, whose founders were featured in AJ’s ‘40 under 40’, to create a Roving Retrofit Workshop that will work with housing associations and residents to retrofit and upgrade their homes. The £5,000 prize fund will help develop the concept further, enabling residents to reduce their carbon consumption and energy bills through hands-on workshops and go on to train and qualify as green retrofit contractors. 

Now in its third year, The William Sutton Prize was developed by Clarion Housing Group to celebrate the legacy of its founder, William Sutton, as a 19th century innovator and philanthropist who bequeathed his fortune to improve the quality of social housing. The Academy has been represented on the judging panel for these three years by Biljana Savic.

It encourages individuals and organisations to present a new concept, service or idea that will benefit social housing residents and communities, with a prize fund on offer to help develop the idea and maximise its impact. The funding is provided by Clarion Futures, the charitable foundation of Clarion Housing Group. 

The winning entries were determined by a panel led by Clare Miller, Group Chief Executive of Clarion, and including Biljana Savic, Director of The Academy of Urbanism, and Richard Cook, Group Development Director of Clarion.