Flint House, a “dramatic and innovative” new house on a country estate in Buckinghamshire and Sussex House, an “elegant villa in the Sussex countryside”, have been announced as the first two houses to be shortlisted for the 2015 RIBA House of the Year award (formerly known as the Manser Medal).
This year’s award is a little different to previous incarnations, with more of an X-Factor vibe thanks to a weekly roll-out on Channel 4. Kevin McCloud fronts the four-part special series of Grand Designs, the first of which aired last night. Seven houses are up for the big prize, with the winner due be announced on Wednesday 25th November.
The RIBA House of the Year award, sponsored by Hiscox, is awarded every year to the best new house designed by an architect in the UK. This year’s judges are Jonathan Manser, Chair of the jury; James Standen of Hiscox; architect Mary Duggan; Chris Loyn, the recipient of the 2014 award, and RIBA’s Head of Awards Tony Chapman.
Here’s what the judges have to say about the first two projects shortlisted for the 2015 RIBA House of the Year:
- Flint House, Buckinghamshire by Skene Catling De La Pena The house sits within the grounds of a wider estate and forms accommodation for visitors who include family members as well as artists. The building is split into two parts: the main house plus an annexe. The building 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 that 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 both a feeling of varying geological strata with the building dissolving as it reaches to the sky. The architects worked with a number of specialist and skilled craftsmen to achieve the end result. The development is part of a wider artistic project that has involved engagement with artists, photographers and musicians.
- Sussex House, West Sussex by Wilkinson King ArchitectsThis 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 a contiguous open plan and cellular spaces into a simple but elegant arrangement. The over-sailing 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 the project to have a crafted feel through modern materials and technologies. The design fulfils the brief and provides the clients with so much more.
All images courtesy of Channel 4
Grand Designs: House of the Year continues next Wednesday at 9pm. Catch up on All4 here.