Barnhouse by Sutherland Hussey has won this year's AJ First Building Award, in association with Robin Ellis Design Build.The innovative new house, set within the Highgate conservation area, triumphed over four other shortlisted projects.The £5,000 prize, which is in its second year, rewards the best example of a stand-alone building by a British architect.
Barrie Evans, buildings editor of The Architects' Journal and one of the judges, said: 'Sutherland Hussey Architects has produced a fun design, making the most of some of the client's preferences, notably avoiding stairs. A floor sloping down and timber-ramped bridge (with help from engineer Techniker) sloping up to create a striking beginning to a house that follows the footprints of buildings previously on the site, drawing them together into a group of small private spaces and large, open shared spaces.
'While the entry to the site is almost hidden on the high street, the house and its pool turn to address distant views, almost Italianate, towards the wooded slopes of exotic Essex.
More Gothic than Classic, the colours and textures of largely untreated materials are robust yet tactile. The clients feel thoroughly at home.'
Charlie Hussey, joint founder along with Charlie Sutherland of the five-yearold practice, said: 'We're very grateful to the AJ and the RIBA for running such an award at a time when small practices are up against the wall.'The two began their careers under James Stirling, before setting up their own practice and relocating to Edinburgh.Hussey said they would be spending the £5,000 prize updating the office computer system.
The other shortlisted schemes were: Wycoller Visitor Centre in Lancashire by Hakes Associates, Fairhazel Gardens in London by Scampton & Barnett, VXO House in Hampstead by Alison Brooks Architects and the Brooke Coombes House in London by Burd Haward Marston Architects.