Stormy Castle in Wales is Britain's best new home – RIBA Manser Medal 2014

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has this evening (Thursday 16 October) announced the winner of the 2014 RIBA Manser Medal, the UK’s most prestigious housing design award. Stormy Castle by Loyn & Co, a brave contemporary private house in an area of outstanding natural beauty atop a hillside on the Gower peninsula in Wales has been named Britain’s best new home.

Despite its remote and unforgiving local environment, the architects created a three-storey home that pulls a remarkable amount of natural light deep into its interior. Complimenting this are polished concrete floors flowing throughout and crystalline white ceilings which help create a contemporary feel in such a rural setting. Rusted steel on the external doors, cladding and on the roof of the retained barn evoke a raw, honest aesthetic and sit well with materials used locally in agriculture buildings.

Full-height glazing maximise the views on to designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and although the house is 725 square metres in area, much of it is cleverly hidden  underground, emerging to make the most of the stunning views of the manicured perimeter and the wild meadow and heathland stretching beyond.

RIBA Manser Medal Chair Michael Manser CBE said: ‘The aim of the Manser Medal has always been to influence the public to demand, and the mass house builders to supply, better designed homes. I believe by highlighting brave architecture like this year’s winner Stormy Castle we can showcase what can be achieved.

This is a bold design in an area of Wales where arguably more conservative design solutions usually hold sway. I was impressed by the sustainability credentials, with a comprehensive range of energy, recycling and heating strategies incorporated into the design, which will be invaluable in dealing with such a large footprint.’

The judges for the award are Michael Manser CBE (chair), Robert Hiscox, Honorary President of Hiscox, Lady Patty Hopkins, Carl Turner (winner of the 2013 Manser Medal) and Tony Chapman, RIBA Head of Awards.

The RIBA Manser Medal is sponsored by specialist insurer Hiscox.

The Architects’ Journal is media partner for the RIBA awards and professional media partner for the RIBA Stirling Prize.

ENDS

Notes to editors

  1. RIBA press contact: Howard Crosskey, howard.crosskey@riba.org or 020 7307 3761
  2. Press images for the winning home can be viewed and downloaded here: https://app.box.com/s/tyy4q504w5urdm3d1lkm
  3. The RIBA Manser Medal is awarded every year to the best new house. It was created in 2001 to celebrate excellence in housing design and was named after Michael Manser CBE, a designer of celebrated homes and former RIBA President. Previous winners include Carl Turner Architects for Slip House (2013), Acme for Hunsett Mill (2010) and Alison Brooks Architects for the Salt House (2007)
  4. For more information on the award visit: www.architecture.com/mansermedal2014
  5. Hiscox, the international specialist insurer, is headquartered in Bermuda and listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE:HSX). There are three main underwriting divisions in the Group – Hiscox London Market, Hiscox Re and Hiscox Retail (which includes Hiscox UK and Europe, Hiscox Guernsey, Hiscox USA and subsidiary brand, DirectAsia). Hiscox underwrites internationally traded, bigger ticket business and reinsurance through Hiscox Re and Hiscox London Market. Through its retail businesses in the UK, Europe and the US Hiscox offers a range of specialist insurance for professionals and business customers, as well as homeowners.  For further information visit www.hiscoxgroup.com
  6. Hiscox UK’s affinity partnerships team creates long term commercial relationships with leading brands.  Hiscox are able to offer RIBA members a 10% discount on their home insurance or office insurance which can also include cover for architectural models (subject to terms and conditions)  – call 0844 248 1644 or visit www.hiscox.co.uk/riba
  7. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) champions better buildings, communities and the environment through architecture and our members. Visit www.architecture.com and follow us on Twitter.
  8. The Architects’ Journal is media partner for the RIBA Awards and special awards and professional media partner for the RIBA Stirling Prize.
  9. The judges citations and image links follow:

Stormy Castle, Loyn & Co. Architects

Stormy Castle is a contemporary private house in an area of outstanding natural beauty on a hillside on the Gower peninsula.  The client, a local couple who know the area well, had always wanted to build something which reflected the quality of the surroundings and, conversely, made the most of the site in terms of views, landscape design and topography.

The resulting design is a tour de force in terms of space, natural light, level changes and connection to the landscape. The palette of materials is kept to a minimum – polished concrete floors flowing throughout, shuttered concrete walls, crystalline white ceilings, full height glazing to maximise the views and Corten steel accents to external doors, cladding and the roof of the retained barn.

Although the overall building is 725 square metres in area, much of it is cleverly hidden in the ground, emerging on three levels to make the most of the orientation and external landscape. The jury was impressed by the sustainability credentials, with a comprehensive range of energy, recycling and heating strategies incorporated into the design, which will be invaluable in dealing with such a large footprint.

By far the most striking element in the design is the quality of light which reaches deep into the interior. In many ways this is as much an art gallery as a home, with the areas in between the living ‘rooms’ inviting interventions – indeed the client is keen to explore this over time. The multi levels and interplay between inside and out create a range of private, intimate courtyards and more exposed external spaces which allow the building to connect, whatever the climate.

This is a brave design in an area of Wales where the more conservative, vernacular indigenous design solution usually holds sway. The jury was therefore delighted to see a contemporary design of quality win through and reward an ambitious client and architect.

Images: https://app.box.com/s/tyy4q504w5urdm3d1lkm

 


Posted on Thursday 16th October 2014

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