Re-imagine Ageing winner announced

07 June 2013

Tom Russell Associates were named the unanimous winner of our Re-imagine Ageing RIBA Design Competition, with a concept that challenges pre-conceptions around housing for older people.

Entrants were asked to reflect the differing aspirations, lifestyles and practical requirements of future generations as they move into later life. The aim was to design a realistic and affordable property product that would appeal in terms of design, location, space, features and facilities.

Tom Russell commented:

“We are very excited about winning this competition.  We believe it offers real prospects for not only getting visionary product built but also opening the debate about housing for older people, and in fact we are already working with McCarthy & Stone on several other projects.”

In the winning submission, every apartment has its own front door and is dual aspect to maximise daylight hours. The ground floor apartments have their own courtyard gardens, while those on the first floor have a raised external area and balcony. The homes comprise generous living spaces, including two bedrooms and two bathrooms and space to entertain. Homeowners would have total independence and privacy but could come together as a community when and as they wished. Included in the design is a Clubhouse for events, while the grounds also offer a range of opportunities for shared and individual activities.

Sustainability was also an intrinsic part of the submission with a strategy that sets out to reduce energy use, water consumption and surface water run-off. The plans include space for a combined heat and power system which would use surplus heat for a swimming pool. These principles of sustainable extend to the drainage systems that have been incorporated into the landscaping and the asymmetric roof forms will accommodate solar panels.

Judge Robert Sakula of Ash Sakula Architects, said of the design:

“This proposal, with its elegant layout and intelligent balance of privacy and community, really advances the debate as to how older people want to live. It’s a beautiful scheme and a worthy winner.”

In addition to Tom Russell, the other four finalists were:

-              AU Studio, London

-              Inglis Badrashi Loddo Architects, London

-              Living Space Architects with Hilary Lawson, Exeter

-              wap architects, Sheffield.


The five practices each received £2,000 with the winner getting an additional £3,000 as recommended in the guidelines set by RIBA Competitions.

We were so impressed with the quality of thinking that we are now working with Tom Russell Architects to make their ideas a reality either wholly or in part, on an appropriate site. Furthermore, it is likely that it will work with a number of the other architects that entered the competition when future needs arise.

To see the shortlisted and winning entries click here.

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Other Comments:

Rosalind Anderson “I would have liked to see more detail, for instance my husband and I (now 81) would like two shower/wet rooms, no bath, two good sized bedrooms with plenty of storage. Lots of light, good insulation, underfloor heating (no fireplaces) balcony/patio. Would prefer kitchen to include washing machine can't get used to communal laundry idea. Top quality materials a beautiful space. Baby boomers are not the only ones wanting good design. Congrats to Tom Russell Architects .”

H B “How inspiring and fascinating! It sounds as if the winner has sixth sense as to the lifestyle we - not in the first flush of youth - aspire to. It will interesting to see how McCarthy & Stone architects design developments in conservation areas. ”