Award winning streak for HARP’s Bluebird housing project continues

Published on: December 1, 2023

Architects Journal (AJ) prestigious Architects award for local SKArchitects and HARP, Southend’s homeless charity

Local architects SKArchitects and HARP, Southend’s homeless charity were awarded the prestigious AJ Architects Award for HARP’s Bluebird housing development at a glittering ceremony in London at the end of last week.

Bluebird, which was opened five months ago, is the outcome of a five-year programme between local charity HARP and architects SKArchitects to build more homes for people experiencing homelessness in Southend-on-Sea. Based near the Kursal, it provides 50 beds in a retrofitted terrace and new build gas-free mews-style housing development to the rear.

The homes were built to environmentally friendly Passivhaus standards, meaning their carbon footprint and energy efficiency is exceptional. The development has already won two national awards including Inside Housing Magazine “Small Development Award” and the Essex Housing Awards “Design and Placemaking”.

Commenting on the project AJ judges said “The judges were immensely moved by this housing scheme. Not only is it unique to its place, built to Passivhaus standards and well-resolved, but ‘it has gone over and above on its social approach”.

Steven Kearney, Architect RIBA said:

“We are delighted to have won such a prestigious national award and that the judges recognised just how important and special Bluebird is in providing a safe space for an additional 50 people and supporting HARP in their incredible life-saving work”.

Charlotte, Resident said:

“It is pretty great living here. It is homely, the best way I can describe it. It genuinely feels like a home”.

Vanessa Hemmings, Chief Executive HARP said:

“We are delighted that our partners SKAArchitects have won this award. However, the success of Bluebird is in the great homes it provides for people and feedback from residents has been great. Living somewhere decent provides people with the breathing space they need to start to rebuild their lives after a period of rough sleeping. We cannot build homes without the financial support of our community so thank you to everyone who donated to this project”.

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