The next homes in the running for the RIBA House of the Year award have been revealed on a special Grand Designs show
A Cor-ten clad home re-using the walls of a 19th-century stable by Piercy and Company and vPPR’s vaulted house on a tight site in Hammersmith have been named as the latest finalists vying for the title of 2015 RIBA House of the Year.
The shortlisted homes were revealed at the end of a special edition of Grand Designs aired on Channel 4 at 9pm tonight (11 November).
The two homes join the Flint House by Skene Catling de la Peña and Wilkinson King’s Sussex House which made it on to the shortlist last week.
A further three homes vying for the accolade will be announced during the four-part Grand Designs series, with the winner revealed in the final show on 25 November.
Tonight’s show featured homes on tight inner-city sites and included Courtyard House by Dallas Pierce Quintero, and a house in Northern Ireland by Hall McKnight.
The judges of the prestigious prize include Jonathan Manser of the Manser Practice, Duggan Morris’ Mary Duggan, 2014 Manser Medal winner Chris Loyn of Loyn & Co, James Standen of awards sponsor Hiscox, and RIBA head of awards Tony Chapman.
The shortlist so far
Kew House, London, by Piercy and Company
This four-bedroom family house is formed of two prefabricated weathering steel volumes inserted behind a retained 19th-century stable wall. The layout is informal; rich with incidental spaces and unexpected light sources. A delicate, glazed circulation link reveals the contrast between a rustic exterior and refined interior. Split into two wings, the simple plan makes the most of a constrained site and responds to the living patterns of the young family. Completed in January 2014, Kew House was an experimental project, driven by the architect and clients’ shared interest in a ‘kit-of-parts’ approach, prefabrication, and the self-build possibilities emerging from digital fabrication.
Vaulted House, London, by vPPR Architects
This family house, built on the walled site of a former taxi garage, is almost entirely hidden in the middle of a Victorian block in Chiswick. The approach is via a covered passage, beyond which is a brick-lined front porch. A recessed, chamfered surround for the front door hints at the geometric language of the house’s primary formal and spatial idea: a walled enclosure above which a cluster of six conjoined hipped roofs hovers enigmatically.
The house is arranged so that on entry, one is poised between the two levels, with stairs leading up to the open-plan living level, and down to the lower level of bedrooms. The six roofs, each topped by a skylight, are lifted above the enclosing boundary wall. This creates a sense of weightlessness and a borrowed panorama of neighbouring gardens. The hipped roofs’ sloped planes join precisely to form a series of large coffers or ‘vaults’. These vaults spatially define and individually illuminate various parts of the open-plan main living space – kitchen, dining and living areas. In two places, the vaulted roofs are absent, leaving two-storey-deep voids that act as garden courtyards for the basement-level bedrooms and children’s playroom. Glazed walls slide back to expand the living space on to balconies that project into the voids, formed with perforated mesh. This material and its careful detailing creates beautiful shadows on pristine courtyard walls.
Flint House, Buckinghamshire, by Skene Catling de la Peña
The house is part of an artistic project involving engagement with artists, photographers and musicians. Forming accommodation for family members, guests and artists, the building is split into two parts: the main house plus an annexe. It 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, which 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 a feeling of varying geological strata with the building dissolving as it reaches to the sky. The architect worked with a number of specialist and skilled craftsmen to achieve the end result.
Sussex House, West Sussex, by Wilkinson King Architects
This stand-alone contemporary villa set in the Sussex countryside is an exceptional retreat. Externally the house is quietly confident, with its row of low-profile roof pyramids, windows positioned to take advantage of the views, and a muted colour palette of materials. A lack of decoration and ornament gives this modern house a functional feel, but one that is cleverly considered to the very last detail. Internally the double-height void and staircase orchestrate the house, effortlessly organising contiguous open-plan and cellular spaces into a simple but elegant arrangement. The oversailing first floor produces the feeling of a quiet monastic cloister with sun-filled spaces and carefully framed views. There is much to admire about the project, and it is clear the designers have invested a lot of energy into guiding it to have a crafted feel through modern materials and technologies. The design fulfils the brief and provides the clients with so much more.