The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced the shortlist for this year's Manser Medal, the award given for Britain's best new house. With a shortlist comprising a mixture of two London townhouses, a seaside getaway and three remote getaways in Scotland and Wales, the winner of this year's Manser medal will be announced at the RIBA's awards ceremony on October 16th.
RIBA President Steven Hodder said of the shortlisted schemes: "With each of the projects, the architects have added real value to the homeowner’s happiness and wellbeing. The originality, ingenuity and innovation on show in this shortlist should be an inspiration for anyone planning to build or make improvements to their own home. I encourage the UK’s volume house builders to look at the shortlisted schemes – we all deserve to live in homes that comfort and delight us."
Read on after the break for all six shortlisted projects
From the jury: This beautiful house is an essay in how to transform a totally unpromising site into something poetic and memorable. Sited in backlands with the prospect of new development overlooking the site, the design makes a merit of developing a one-sided relationship to a sequence of external spaces. It is difficult to evoke the quality of visual refinement within this building. Wherever you look there are combinations of planes, surfaces and light of unusual quality. A huge horizontal opening connects the kitchen and dining room to the garden, the whole window opening and disappearing against the adjacent wall. The plan and section have an unexpected geometry, a kind of stretching out of forms and shapes that plays games with the orthogonal.
From the jury: The extension to the house is virtually invisible from the street and when viewed from the garden appears as an object that could be from another planet. The innovative use of Corian as an external cladding material further emphasises this crystalline appearance. The geometry of the extension is a complex series of trapezoidal planes, the junctions throughout are precise and accurate and are a testament to the care and skill that has been lavished by the architects. The architects have transformed this wrecked Victorian house into a wonderful place to live and work; it is dramatic, light and welcoming, practical and well considered at every level.
Stormy Castle / Loyn & Co. Architects
From the jury: Stormy Castle is a contemporary private house in an area of outstanding natural beauty on a hillside on the Gower peninsula. The client, a local couple who know the area well, had always wanted to build something which reflected the quality of the surroundings and, conversely, made the most of the site in terms of views, landscape design and topography.
The resulting design is a tour de force in terms of space, natural light, level changes and connection to the landscape. The palette of materials is kept to a minimum – polished concrete floors flowing throughout, shuttered concrete walls, crystalline white ceilings, full height glazing to maximise the views and Corten steel accents to external doors, cladding and the roof of the retained barn.
The Kench / MELOY architects
From the jury: This beautifully detailed little summer house sets a new standard for construction quality and finish. The modest building has been carefully planned due to maximum floor space restrictions; the designer is forced to become more creative with their space saving solutions. It is a good example of how to make the best possible use of a limited area.
The rooms are arranged in a way that makes the most of the views over the Kench. This building sits very well in the setting of the other chalets and the landscape, and has become a popular addition to the site.
From the jury: This new home is gradually revealed to the visitor by means of a curved path, and its drama is only fully apparent on entry. The shift in character which becomes apparent within the building is reflected in the materials of its construction with Caithness stone used for the retaining wall and larch for the open plan main rooms.
The architecture is determinedly minimalist, with polished concrete floors and the exclusion of features such as skirtings or architraves. The architect’s intention was to concentrate the eye on the relationship between the interior and exterior, the stunning view over Loch Dunvegan, and in this has been entirely successful. The single space, with its wall of glass and supplementary balancing natural light from clerestory glazing between the roof joists is completely satisfying.
From the jury: Set in the southern coat of the island, House no. 7 enjoys views of Duin Bay to the south, set within a typical Tiree undulating machair, punctuated by other traditional housing. Without any natural shelter from the wind, the house hunkers down within its exposed setting. However, the interior is designed to be light, bright, welcoming and cosy, in contrast with the robust forms of the exterior. Extensive use of timber, alongside the exposed natural stone, enhances the perceived warmth of the interior while heating is provided through an air-source heat pump.
What is particularly noteworthy about this entry is the quality of the detailing; the way in which materials have been selected and their relationship to each other. This house is notable for the tactile pleasure which is invoked by every simple activity, even just opening a door. It is full of thoughtful playfulness.