London Borough of Newham estate McGrath Road wins Neave Brown Award for Housing


The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced McGrath Road designed by Peter Barber Architects as the winner of the Neave Brown Award for Housing 2021, which recognises the UK’s best affordable housing.

McGrath Road has received the second Neave Brown Award for Housing, named after social housing pioneer, Neave Brown (1929 – 2018).

The series of London townhouses comprises 26 three and four-storey dwellings with social rent, affordable rent and shared ownership tenures. The houses are linked together by a communal tree-lined courtyard. The development challenges conventional housing configurations and sets a new standard for high-quality affordable housing. Peter Barber Architects’ considered scheme ensures all houses have balconies and private terraces and a living room on the top floor to embrace the views across the Capital.

Chair of the Neave Brown Award for Housing jury David Mikhail said:

“In addition to its sheer inventiveness, this project has made a huge contribution to the wider area; projecting its optimism, whilst managing to feel neighbourly. The architects have moulded a place of character, both within the scheme and the community it serves. It demonstrates how imaginative street-based architecture can be socially progressive and architecturally engaging – a combination that endears Peter Barber Architects’ work to so many people.”

RIBA President Simon Allford said:

“Intelligent, dynamic and original – this unique configuration of housing has the McGrath Road community at its heart. It’s an exemplar of high-quality social housing within one of London’s most densely populated boroughs and demonstrates what can – and must – be achieved across the country. It would, I am sure, have been championed by the late, great Neave Brown.”

The Neave Brown Award for Housing 2021 jury was chaired by the winner of the 2019 award David Mikhail, with co-founder and CEO of Public Practice Pooja Agrawal and Neave Brown family representative Mark Swenarton.