Willow Barns wins RIBA Award

By PRP – 24 May 2018

Willow Barns is one of seven winners across the West Midlands region, each chosen in recognition of their architectural excellence.

Designed by PRP, on behalf of the Sapphire Consortium (a joint venture between Your Housing Group, the Eric Wright Group and Kajima Partnerships on behalf of Stoke City Council), Willow Barns is a development of 75 apartments, all for affordable rent in an extra care setting.

Set within the Blurton Church conservation area, the design fully exploits its physical features, including the 19th century agricultural buildings, which have been incorporated into the development. These provide a range of communal facilities, and respond to the challenging topography by using flying bridges to link the residential barns.

In awarding the prize, the judges described the scheme "as having been achieved within tight budgetary constraints and the strictures of PFI." They went on to say that: "Willow Barns is all the more commendable as a thoughtfully conceived response to a sensitive site and community of elderly residents. In a simple way, with a restrained palette of materials, the architects have drawn on the character of the area to give the residents new affordable homes with a distinctive sense of place.''

Graham Locke, director at the Manchester studio of PRP said: “Willow Barns is a wonderful building, and has, in the short time since it opened, created a new and vibrant community. It also demonstrates that public and private sector organisations can work successfully together to deliver high quality homes for local people. Winning a RIBA Award is an incredible achievement for the entire team and we are delighted that the scheme has been recognised by our fellow professionals.”

Richard Barnett, Asset Manager at Kajima Partnerships added: “It is great to see Willow Barns being recognised by RIBA. PRP in partnership with Eric Wright Construction have delivered a stunning facility in which Willow Barns benefits both the residents and the local community.''

The win adds to a growing list of awards for the three PFI projects, including a HAPPI Completed Award in the Housing Design Awards.