The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is delighted to announce this evening Flint House as the winner of the coveted 2015 RIBA House of the Year award, sponsored by specialist insurer, Hiscox. The annual award was created in 2001 to celebrate excellence in housing design.
Flint House, designed by architects Skene Catling De La Pena, was announced as the winner during a special four part TV series for Channel 4, Grand Designs: House of the Year. The series featured homes long-listed and short-listed for the prestigious annual award.
Described by judges as a marvel of geological evolution and construction, Flint House is a celebration of location, material and architectural design at its best. Set in the flint-layered fields of the Rothschild’s estate at Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire, the building rises from the ground as dark, fashioned flint and slowly changes in construction and texture until its refined white chalk blocks disappear into the sky.
Whilst defined by its flint construction, the project is home to an intriguing and intelligent mixed application of rooftops, terraces and recesses that combine to deliver a stunning piece of liveable, provoking, modern architecture that marries into the earthly yet beautiful countryside.
The Mill, a contemporary holiday home in the Scottish Borders, was this evening (EMBARGO 25 November, 10pm) announced as the final project shortlisted for the 2015 RIBA House of the Year.
The full shortlist for the 2015 RIBA House of the Year award is:
- Flint House, Buckinghamshire by Skene Catling De La Pena
- Kew House, London by Piercy&Company
- Levring House, Londonby Jamie Fobert Architects
- Maghera, County Downby Mcgonigle McGrath
- (The) Mill, Scottish Borders by WT Architecture
- Sussex House, West Sussex by Wilkinson King Architects
- Vaulted House, London by vPPR Architects
RIBA President Jane Duncan said:
“The shortlist for the RIBA’s House of the Year represents a remarkable diversity of architectural skills and outcomes. I am delighted that Skene Catling De La Pena’s Flint House for Lord Rothschild has won this year’s prize. Although superbly original and unique, it continues a fine tradition of RIBA award-winning houses that provide exemplars for others: architects, clients and developers. Congratulations to all involved.”
Notes to editors
- For further press information contact Melanie Mayfield email@example.com 020 7307 3662
- The RIBA House of the Year award (formerly the Manser Medal) is awarded every year to the best new house designed by an architect in the UK. It was created in 2001 to celebrate excellence in housing design.
- The judges for the 2015 RIBA House of the Year award, sponsored by Hiscox, are Jonathan Manser, Chair of the jury; James Standen of Hiscox; award-winning architect, Mary Duggan; Chris Loyn, the recipient of the 2014 award and Tony Chapman, RIBA Head of Awards.
- 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
- The Architects’ Journal is media partner for the 2015 RIBA special awards, including the RIBA House of the Year www.architectsjournal.co.uk
- 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.
- Grand Designs: House of the Year is produced by Boundless, producers of Grand Designs.
- The judges’ full citations and image links for each house commended this evening follows:
Flint House, Buckinghamshire by Skene Catling De La Pena – RIBA House of the Year Winner
The house sits within the grounds of a wider estate and forms accommodation for visitors who include family members as well as artists. The building is split into two parts: the main house plus an annexe. The building is constructed of masonry with flint cladding. The project is a rare example of a poetic narrative whose realisation remains true to the original concept. The site is on a seam of flint geology and is surrounded by ploughed fields where the flint sits on the surface. The building is conceived as a piece of that geology thrusting up through the flat landscape. The innovation and beauty of the scheme is particularly evident in the detail of the cladding that starts at the base as knapped flint and slowly changes in construction and texture until it becomes chalk blocks at the highest point. This gives both a feeling of varying geological strata with the building dissolving as it reaches to the sky. The architects worked with a number of specialist and skilled craftsmen to achieve the end result. The development is part of a wider artistic project that has involved engagement with artists, photographers and musicians.
Internally the spaces carefully frame the landscape and provide a rich sequence of spaces including a small rivulet of water that snakes under part of the main house. Given the nature of the client and the brief, one might suggest that the project was able to push boundaries that many architects and clients would not be able to. But conversely, patronage has often been crucial in allowing the development of the arts and architecture. The building is an example of an innovative piece of architecture that suggests a typology for the one-off house that is not an object in the landscape but is of the landscape; yet is not so deferential to nature, that it isn’t challenging, dramatic, and most of all poetic. Flint House stood out as a significant project from the initial submissions. The photographs of the building had a painterly, almost ethereal quality. Expectations were therefore high when the judges visited the building but remarkably that poetic quality was evident in the flesh. Of all the projects visited it had the strongest narrative, passionately explained by the architect, and evident in the end result. This is a beautiful addition to a beautiful landscape.
The Mill, Scottish Borders by WT Architecture – shortlisted for the RIBA House of the Year
Southside Steading is collection of disused farm buildings that nestles into a steep hill overlooking a valley in the Scottish Borders. The brief was to convert the mill to create a modern, rural holiday home that retained much of its historic character.
The mill’s distinctive long form emerging out of the hillside gives it a striking yet exposed position on the site and supported an architectural solution contained within the original walls. The old roof and floors were beyond repair, so a new insulated timber building was slotted into the existing structure, rising above the original wall to provide a largely glazed clerestory from where light could spill down into the lower floors. The dramatic level changes along the length of the building gave the opportunity to introduce half levels, and taller spaces, allowing light to move between the spaces and penetrate the tall cross-section of the building. The original front door is reused, entering into a boot room lined in larch. This opens on to a dining-hall with glimpses into the main living spaces beyond. Steps lead down a half level to the kitchen, which opens out to a wild garden. The main living space is half a level up from the dining-hall, with a new window overlooking the valley below. An accessible bathroom, utility and bedroom are tucked in the partially underground north end of the building. On the upper floor there are three bedrooms, two accessed from the west stair and one from the east stair, allowing a double-height space between to give light to the ground floor.
The original building was characterised by its forgiving mix of rural materials showing its previous historic adaptations. The original walls were consolidated and repaired using stone from the site, and re-pointed with lime mortar. Any new openings in the stonework were edged in galvanised steel and the new timber structure clad in black stained timber as subservient to the original walls.
This family house is on the edge of a clachan, a small grouping of farmsteads, on the leeward side of the stunning Mourne Mountains in County Down and is composed of two linear traditional building forms that continue the existing settlement pattern; each discrete form being displaced and slightly rotated in relation to its neighbour. The two forms are welded together by the extension of roof slopes. The resulting silhouette anchors the house to the ground and fixes it in the landscape. There is real talent and judgment at work here and a deftness of hand that goes far beyond a reimagined vernacular.
The front entrance yard has a cool tension reminiscent of the Mexican architect Luis Barragan, albeit without the colour, and is authentic in its context and meaning. The entrance hall leads to a music room, a trapezoidal volume complete with piano, and enclosed by a pair of folding and sliding barn doors. A guest bedroom to the east occupies the end gable of the shorter building form – a wonderful cavernous volume with a large singular window and timber planks for a floor. The longer range of west-facing living rooms with serried overhead bedrooms all gaze outwards at the Mournes. In the second living room the diagram is subverted by a tall clerestory window reaching through the first floor to scoop morning east-light into this otherwise west-facing space.
This is a family house providing an empathetic framework of beautiful spaces for its occupants, opportunistically using the site and appropriate technologies to achieve an eminently habitable and sustainable home. The quality of construction is very high, exemplary and demanding detailing executed with evident local skill and obvious pride (who said craft was dead?): a credit to architect, client and builder.
- The other houses already announced as shortlisted for the RIBA House of the Year:
Kew House, Londonby Piercy&Company
Levring House, Londonby Jamie Fobert Architects
Sussex House, West Sussex by Wilkinson King Architects
Vaulted House, London by vPPR Architects
House at Maghera, County Down by Mcgonigle McGrath
Posted on Wednesday 25th November 2015