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RIBA Awards 2013: Houses

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One-off houses usually make rich pickings for awards juries. However, only three have been selected this year for National awards, compared with nine last year and 17 the year before

The balance is redressed by Regional and worldwide awards: two private houses pick up EU awards, one secures an International honour and 23 have achieved Regional wins. A sense of place and sustainability are common themes: Studio Kap’s 4 Linsiadar is a modern take on an ancient type; Aughey O’Flaherty’s House on Mount Anville is an energy-efficient brick and timber triumph; while Carl Turner Architects’ Slip House was designed as a prototype for adaptable terraced housing, so perhaps we’ll see its sleek and green design elsewhere. Regional winners are packed full of local gems, from Dow Jones’ Tanners Hill to Rural Design’s Turf House.

Slip House, Brixton, London, Carl Turner Architects


This elegant and confident project is a prototype house composed of multiple standard elements and components. A standardised and semi-industrial material palette is employed throughout. Inside and out, this house is immaculate in its detail, coordination and execution. The project demonstrates a commitment to the creation of an exemplar low-energy house, with a suite of sustainable enhancements integrated effectively into the design. At no point do the sustainable ambitions of the project dominate the refined quality of the spaces created.

Crowbrook, Ware, Hertfordshire, Knox Bhavan Architects


Crowbrook is a house with a mid-20th-century feel located in a conservation area. Created for a couple as a place to live and work, the client has limited mobility and the brief therefore demanded maximum accessibility. The house is single storey throughout, but at its centre, in the living room, the roof pops up to form a tower allowing high-level windows to bring daylight into the heart of the house. The H-shaped plan means the rest of the house also brims with natural light.

4 Linsiadar, Isle Of Lewis, Studio KAP Architects


The house’s robust, sculptural form reaches beyond the chequered architectural history of Lewis, from imported kits back to ancient indigenous dwellings (AJS 02.13). This substantial new home is meshed into the archaeology of a former croft and hunkers down into a site which slopes down to the sea. Its materials are elemental, rough-sawn shiplap boarding, galvanised steel gutters, a lead and slate roof. Yet within its protective exterior the house’s interior is light and contemporary, far removed from the confined rooms of the historic croft.

Hoflaan House, Rotterdam, Maccreanor Lavington Architects


This new four-bedroom house occupies a slim frontage on a street of late 19th and early 20th-century terraced and detached homes. The house has a deep plan with long gardens to both the front and the rear. The front half of the house has three generous storeys, while the rear half has four, with the upper three set as mezzanines. Reconciling and unifying this complex cross-section is a carefully crafted hardwood staircase, which rises through a top-lit space, off which spacious landings connect to external terraces overlooking the rear garden.

House on Mount Anville, Dublin, Aughey O’Flaherty Architects

Mount Anville

The client wished to rebuild his house in an affluent suburb of Dublin in a vaguely historical style. It is as reminiscent of the Arts and Crafts as it is of mid-20th-century Modernism. The architects listened to the client’s requirements creating a Modernist house that also has a feeling of great familiarity and ordered formality. Making the best use of the sun and views, the architect has created three distinct external spaces. The interior is beautifully detailed, creating an energy-efficient house.

Gota Residence, Zimbabwe, Studio Seilern Architects


This house sits on the edge of a reservoir surrounded by trees. The deeply projecting concrete slabs of the roof and the floor ground the project within the base of the cliffs which rise up behind it. The living spaces are open, giving views out into the landscape. The architects were limited by the options for construction in Zimbabwe, but they managed to turn this to their advantage, giving the scheme an earthen quality through the use of locally sourced materials and salvaged boards to shutter the concrete.

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