House of the Year #2: Two more homes join the Manser shortlist

An experimental London house incorporating the walls of a 19th century stable into its split-wing design (Kew House) and Vaulted House, a sophisticated family house in Chiswick characterised by...

An experimental London house incorporating the walls of a 19th century stable into its split-wing design (Kew House) and Vaulted House, a sophisticated family house in Chiswick characterised by six skylight topped roofs, join Flint House and Sussex House on the 2015 RIBA House of the Year award shortlist, formerly known as the Manser Medal.

Seven projects in the running for the UK’s most prestigious award for a new house are being revealed in a special four part TV series for Channel 4, Grand Designs: House of the Year; the winner will be revealed on screen on Wednesday 25th November.

The latest two projects shortlisted for the 2015 RIBA House of the Year are:

  • Kew House, London by Piercy&Company
  • Vaulted House, London by vPPR Architects

They join the following two houses on the RIBA House of the Year shortlist, with another three yet to be announced:

Here’s what the judges thought of the latest additions:

  • Kew House, London by Piercy&Company
    This four bedroom family house is formed of two prefabricated weathering steel volumes inserted behind a retained nineteenth 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’s and clients’ shared interest in a ‘kit-of-parts’ approach, prefabrication, and the self-build possibilities emerging from digital fabrication.

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  • 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 onto balconies that project into the voids, formed with perforated mesh. This material and its careful detailing creates beautiful shadows on pristine courtyard walls.

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