THE architects enlisted to help build 600 new homes across York have won a prestigious national award.

Design firm Mikhail Riches won the Stirling Prize for the UK’s best new building by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

Their housing estate - named Goldsmith Street - is a collection of nearly 100 ultra low-energy council homes built in Norwich.

It was up against a field of nominees including a house built from cork in Berkshire and a futuristic distillery in Scotland.

But the judges praised the scheme for ensuring that “people own the streets, not their cars”.

City of York Council announced earlier this year that the firm will work on delivering the local authority’s new housebuilding programme. And that all of the new homes will meet passivhaus standards - an ultra low energy criteria.

Cllr Denise Craghill, the council’s executive member for housing, congratulated the design firm, saying: “I’m thrilled with Mikhail Riches’s win from RIBA.

“Their passion for sustainable building and building beautiful and thriving communities helped them win our architecture competition to design homes for York, and I’m not surprised their vision has secured the prestigious Stirling Prize too.

“The practice has already begun conversations with York residents about the areas where they’ll be designing passivhaus homes for affordable and market sale tenures.

“We’re excited about these early stages which are laying promising foundations on which great homes will be built.”

Henry Wootton, one of the architects who worked on the Goldsmith Street project, will be the architect for the new housing development at Burnholme.

He talked about the scheme at a public meeting at the council last week and invited residents to share their ideas for housing across York.

A spokesman for Mikhail Riches practice, speaking after the win, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to see a 100 per cent social housing scheme win the RIBA Stirling Prize and the inaugural Neave Brown Award for Housing.

“This project is a culmination of 11 years commitment and courage by our client, Norwich City Council.

“We work very hard to make beautiful architecture that is socially and environmentally conscious, here we had a client that pushed us further to achieve certified passivhaus at scale. The purpose of our practice is to create buildings people love. We hope people will love living here.”

The houses built as part of City of York Council’s housebuilding scheme will not be 100 per cent social housing - 60 per cent will be sold at market value while 40 per cent will be affordable, including shared ownership and rented council housing.

The council is planning to build housing developments at eight sites across the city and details of how to buy the homes and self build plots will be announced next year.

Council leader Keith Aspden also congratulated Mikhail Riches.

He said: “We are delighted that Mikhail Riches have received this prestigious award and that they are helping us to deliver new and affordable homes across the city, ones which set new zero-carbon standards for house building in York.

“Our newly-published Housing Design Manual reflects these aspirations, incorporating standards which are significantly higher than the vast majority of housing developers.”