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Acme wins Manser Medal 2010 with Norfolk Broads house

Acme Architects’ extension to a Grade II-listed mill keepers house on the Norfolk Broads has won this year’s RIBA Manser Medal

The Hunsett Mill house scooped the top prize of £10,000 and a new ‘specially commissioned’ trophy designed by artist Petr Wiegl after being named the winner of the prestigious award at a ceremony at the RIBA last night (11 November).

The Manser Medal 2010, which was ‘reborn’ this year and is now backed by the HSBC Private Bank, recognises the ‘best new house or major extension in the UK’.

ACME saw off a five other finalists to win the award including Theis and Khan’s Stirling-shortlisted Bateman’s Row house and office in east London. The full shortlist is shown below.

Speaking about the winning building RIBA president Ruth Reed said: ‘Hunsett Mill, like a lot of really good architecture, results from one simple, strong idea.  Instead of creating either a pastiche of the Victorian red-brick cottage, or a self-effacing glass box, the architects’ truly inventive solution was to create a kind of triple-shadow of the original, in black charred timber, crossed by the shadow of the neighbouring windmill’s arms.   

She added: ‘A private house commission gives the architect an opportunity to get inside the ambitions of the client and produce a shared personal statement.  It is a building type in which every detail matters and in which they matter to client and architect in equal measure.  Houses like Hunsett Mill do not get built without the extraordinary faith in and commitment to the architects by their clients.  The RIBA is grateful to HSBC Private Bank for its strong support of this award.’

The five other shortlisted houses were:

  • Bateman’s Row, London by Theis and Khan
  • Furzey Hall Farm, Gloucestershire by Waugh Thisleton Architects
  • Leaf House, London by James Gorst Architects
  • Martello Tower Y, Suffolk by Piercy Conner Architects with Billings Jackson Industrial Design
  • Zero Carbon House, Birmingham by John Christophers
  • Hunsett Mill, Norfolk Broads by Acme

Previous winners of the RIBA Manser Medal include Pitman Tozer Architects for The Gap House (2009), Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners for Oxley Woods (2008) and Alison Brooks Architects for the Salt House (2007).

Judges for this year’s award were: past RIBA President Michael Manser; HSBC Private Bank’s property expert Peter Mackie, managing director of its Property Vision subsidiary; architects Luke Tozer from Pitman Tozer and Deborah Saunt from DSDHA; and the RIBA’s head of awards, Tony Chapman

Readers' comments (1)

  • It would have been nice to see the award go to a house that is a home, rather than a house that is a 'holiday home' for the family that commissioned it. On a positive note that does mean that the public can experience this great price of architecture (google it and you'll find out how much a week they rent it out for), and hats off to Acme, its a great little building and shows what you can do with existing buildings in the landscape, its just a shame its not someones everyday home.

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