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Architect Yẹmí Àládérun announced as judge for revamped William Sutton Prize

In its fifth year, The William Sutton Prize is looking for ideas and innovations that have the potential to improve the carbon footprint of the social housing sector and its residents.
Yemi Aladerun

As applications open for the fifth William Sutton Prize organised by Clarion Housing Group, the country’s largest social landlord, architect Yẹmí Àládérun has been announced as a new member of the judging panel.

Àládérun is an advocate for education, income and housing equality and is extremely passionate about social mobility and broadening access to the built environment industry, making her a natural addition to the panel this year.

In addition to changes to the judging panel, this year sees the Prize move from two categories to one overall funding pot of £75,000, inviting applications for grant funding from disruptors and innovators with ideas that can help tackle one of the biggest issues facing society today.

Areas of focus include, but are not restricted to, ways to increase energy efficiency and reduce bills, improving air quality in and around communities, improving the health and wellbeing of residents through nature and designing and building homes that are resilient to the impacts of climate change.

Breakthrough and radical ideas are sought to ensure that no-one is left behind in the transition to a net zero future, so that the benefits are felt by everyone in society in a way that is equitable and inclusive.

Applicants registered to work in England can bid for grants of up to £50,000 to help turn their bright ideas into reality, with the funding provided by Clarion Futures, the charitable foundation of Clarion Housing Group. Winners will also receive a tailored package of business support from Clarion as part of a 12-18 month programme that will complement the funding received.

Past winners include well-known architecture practices including Mole Architects and Jas Bhalla Architects, but this year the organisers are looking to broaden the range of applicants, targeting designers, social and tech entrepreneurs, engineers, scientists, academics and researchers, construction contractors, social enterprises and CICs.

This follows the success of the Hackney School of Food – a hub providing ‘seed to spoon’ food education for primary school children in Hackney – which won The William Sutton Prize in 2021. Since winning the Prize, the team behind the project have created and published a toolkit to share the model with other schools to create nurturing environments for children to engage with food and growing.

The William Sutton Prize supports the growth of high potential ideas that tackle our most urgent sustainability challenges. It was developed by Clarion Housing Group to celebrate the legacy of its founder, William Sutton, as a 19th century innovator and philanthropist who bequeathed his fortune to improve the quality of social housing.

Yẹmí Àládérun said: “I am delighted to be joining the judging panel this year for The William Sutton Prize. The focus of this year’s awards is breakthrough ideas that can help the social housing sector achieve net zero carbon by 2050. Sustainability is not just about preserving the environment for future generations, it’s about creating a better quality of life (economic, social and environmental) for the widest demographic of people today. I am very much looking forward to the chance to contribute my expertise and insights and reward the exceptional efforts and achievements of the participants.”

Clare Miller, Chief Executive of Clarion Housing Group, said: “As the country’s largest housing association and a sector leader, we recognise our role in stimulating creative thinking and adopting breakthrough solutions that move us closer to a net zero carbon era.

“But the scale of the challenge is enormous, and we cannot do this alone. We hope that The William Sutton Prize will be a catalyst for cross-sector collaboration, accelerating the best ideas that will make a real difference to our residents and communities, creating a more promising future for generations to come.”

Mole Architects won The William Sutton Prize in its fourth year for its zero-carbon homebuilding system designed to support the development of group build community housing.

Meredith Bowles, Founding Director and Principal at Mole Architects, said: “Winning The William Sutton Prize was vital to the success of our project, with the funding and business support from Clarion helping us to turn our idea into reality. We’re excited to have the chance to trial our Buildgroup project on one of Clarion’s major upcoming schemes and look forward to seeing what innovative ideas come through in this year’s applications.”

Applications close at midday on 3 July. To find out more about The William Sutton Prize or to apply, visit


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