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Family home wins top prize in RIBA 2019 South East regional awards

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Adam Richards Architects’ new-build family home in the South Downs National Park has been awarded RIBA South East Building of the Year in the 2019 regional awards

The house, at Nithurst Farm, West Sussex, features arched brick window openings, labyrinthine passageways and internal towers. It was among eight winners in the region.

McLean Quinlan won two awards for houses in Kent and West Sussex while the practice’s Alastair Bowdon was named RIBA South East Project Architect of the Year.

Meloy Architects’ Hill House Passivhaus in Lewes was also a standout project, winning both the sustainability award and the RIBA South East Small Project of the Year Award.

Other buildings among the winning eight include Tim Ronalds Architects’ Science and Technology Centre for Sevenoaks School; Guy Hollaway Architects’ Process Gallery in Kent; and Writ in Water, a Magna Carta memorial and public artwork by Mark Wallinger and Studio Octopi. 

Jury chair, Alan Mitchell of Baynes & Mitchell Architects, said of this year’s winners: ‘Overall, architecture appears to be in a healthy state across the region. We visited some great buildings and, perhaps most importantly, witnessed the energy produced by true client involvement in the design process and a natural consequential enthusiasm for the end result.

’It was great to see a shortlist of buildings designed by mostly local architects; a list certainly not dominated by the larger London practices. Many of the buildings we visited demonstrated a thoughtful re-examination of the vernacular and what this becomes when reinterpreted through the filter of contemporary architecture.

‘In these buildings, it was refreshing to see the use of concrete and metal challenge the pervasive regional palette of timber and stone – an interesting response to the not-so-picturesque, indo-agricultural vernacular context of some parts of the region.’

Making the regional shortlists is the first step on the long road to winning the Stirling Prize. Regional Award winners will be considered for a RIBA National Award in June, and those winning a National Award will stand a chance of being shortlisted for the Stirling later in the year.

South East regional award winners

Process Gallery, Lenham, Kent, by Guy Hollaway Architects

Process gallery 3030 ashley gendek pressimage 5

Source: Ashley Gendek

Sevenoaks School Science and Technology Centre and Global Study Centre, Sevenoaks, by Tim Ronalds Architects

Sevenoaks school sci 2840 hélène binet pressimage 1

Source: Hélène Binet

Kent Downs House, Kent, by McLean Quinlan

Kent downs house 3014 jim stephenson pressimage 2

Source: Jim Stephenson

Writ in Water, Egham, Surrey, by Mark Wallinger in collaboration with Studio Octopi

Writ in water 3125 andrew butler pressimage 2

Source: Andrew Butler

Science & Mathematics Centre, Charterhouse School, Surrey, by Design Engine Architects

Charterhouse science 2817 design engine pressimage 1

Source: Design Engine

Hill House Passivhaus, Lewes, by Meloy Architects

Hill house passivhau 3319 charles meloy pressimage 2

Source: Charles Meloy

Harbour House, West Sussex, by McLean Quinlan

Harbour house 3449 peter cook pressimage 1

Source: Peter Cook

Nithurst Farm, West Sussex, by Adam Richards Architects

Nithurst farm 3374 katie lock pressimage 2

Source: Katie Lock

Special awards

  • Sevenoaks School Science and Technology Centre and Global Study Centre, Kent by Tim Ronalds Architects, RIBA South East Client of the Year Award
  • Alastair Bowden of McLean Quinlan for Kent Downs House, RIBA South East Project Architect of the Year, sponsored by Taylor Maxwell
  • Hill House Passivhaus, Lewes by Meloy Architects, RIBA South East Sustainability Award, sponsored by Michelmersh
  • Hill House Passivhaus, Lewes by Meloy Architects, RIBA South East Small Project of the Year Award
  • Nithurst Farm, West Sussex by Adam Richards Architects, RIBA South East Building of the Year Award
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