The RIBA House of the Year Award, which highlights the best new architect-designed house in the UK, was given this year to House on the Hill, designed by Alison Brooks Architects. Located in Gloucestershire, the house represents a contemporary extension to an 18th-century farmhouse that functions both as a home and repository of art. Over ten years in the making, the project creates a rich spatial experience while establishing a strong connection between the dwelling and the landscape. The jury commended the house for the “amalgam of architecture, landscape, inhabitation and art” that aptly manages to create a light and calm atmosphere.
Alison Brooks Architects restored the 18th century stone farmhouse and converted the structure into a vast gallery space. The two-storey extension is partially embedded into the hillside and contains domestic areas. On the ground floor of the new wing, the kitchen, living room and dining area open towards exterior terraces. A staircase that doubles as a gallery space leads to the first floor containing two bedrooms, an office and a terrace. Through the house, a series of niches, benches and recesses provide the setting for the owner’s art collection.
This geometric design skilfully fuses together the old with the new – connecting two architectures separated by over 300 years. Intriguing and distinguished, House on the Hill is the impressive result of a ten-year collaboration between the homeowners and their architect. This is an extraordinary labour of love in architectural form. Every detail has been meticulously considered and exquisitely finished, resulting in a truly remarkable home that enhances its unique setting. - Simon Allford, RIBA President
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The extension is wrapped in dark fibre cement cladding, meant to echo the tones of the nearby Forest of Dean. The project reduced energy consumption by implementing ground and air source heat pumps, solar panels, and an extensive green roof over the new wing. The renovations also saw the revitalization of the surrounding site through new wildflower meadows, orchards and renewed hedges.
The shortlisted projects for RIBA House of the Year 2021 were: