Goldsmith Street, Norwich / Sustainable Design

Goldsmith Street

Location:  Goldsmith Street, Norwich, NR2 4QF

Architect: Mikhail Riches

Accommodation type: A mix of 2, 3 and 4-bedroom flats and terraced houses, Passivhaus designed homes, all of which were social housing.

Size: 93 homes over a floor area of 3337.7m2

Cost: £1875 per m2 excluding professional fees with a total cost of £14.7 million

This is the largest Passivhaus development in the UK, which is a housing design minimising the need for energy, thus helping with fuel poverty and reducing carbon emissions. The design allows this through:

  • Narrow streets, carefully considered window placement, and smartly sloped roofs, to maximise daylight
  • Parking pushed to perimeter to help maintain openness
  • The houses are made to be airtight, reducing heat loss
  • Pre-wired services, mitigating the need for service providers to come in and unintentionally damage the airtightness

With these considerations, the houses are highly energy efficient, with a primary energy demand of less than 120kWh/m2 .yr.

The architects, Mikhail Riches had high architectural expectations for this and wanted to work to the design rather than the design being secondary to comply with the Passivhaus standard. A high quality design was achieved through the use of contemporary materials such as black glazed pantiles traversing from roof to wall. They also saved money on construction costs early on in the design process by making alterations to brickwork, roof and foundation packages, whilst not affecting energy performance. This allowed for the Passivhaus features to be safeguarded.

Overall, this scheme can be regarded to be successful because it effectively maximises energy efficiency through building design, whilst also being of high quality and aesthetically pleasing. The fact that is it award winning and Stirling prize nominated reflects this success.


Page updated: 7/09/2021


Make the most of the Essex Design Guide, register today

As well as ensuring you are always in the know about future changes and updates to the Essex Design Guide, registering with us will enable to you to add and manage bookmarks throughout the site, so your most-used areas of the guide are always easy to find.

Register for updates

© 2021 Copyright Essex County Council. All rights reserved.