House on the Hill wins RIBA House of the Year 2021


House on the Hill crowned RIBA House of the Year 2021

Alison Brooks Architects’ House on the Hill, a sensitive and proportionate restoration and extension of a Gloucestershire house, announced RIBA House of the Year 2021

RIBA House of the Year 2021 has been announced – Alison Brooks Architects’ House on the Hill has won the coveted honor, which crowns it the UK’s best house in the past year. The winner, revealed tonight (December 8, 2021), beat fierce competition from six striking homes – from urban mansions to country retreats and inventive industrial redesigns. The jury, composed of the architect and president of the jury Amin Taha; architect Cany Ash, of Ash Sakula Architects; and architect Kieran McGonigle, co-founder of McGonigle McGrath and winner of the 2019 RIBA House of the Year, praised the project for its well-researched, thoughtful and proportionate design.

“A few decades of preparation, the replacement of a very large 1970s hangar housing a swimming pool and ancillary spaces with the smaller-scale and fragmented form of Alison Brooks Architects impressed the jury, in a very competitive with competitors excelling in durability, craftsmanship, reuse, economy of means and responsiveness to reflection. House on the Hill has balanced these where others may have, for example, reused but at a disproportionate cost, or designed but without an innovative purpose, says Taha. “The jury felt that Alison Brooks Architects applied her long-standing research process of subtly breaking down the rigid, predictable grid in space with gentle inflection. Adding a depth of scale and a wealth of experience to the existing home, and thanks to the new extension, transition with ease into the beautifully landscaped gardens. It is a model of architectural approach applicable at all scales, resulting from the long-standing ideas of architects and the successful collaboration of clients. ‘

RIBA House of the Year 2021 winner

House on the Hill by Alison Brooks Architects

Photography: Paul Riddle

House on the Hill is the overhaul and extension of a historic Georgian farmhouse in Gloucestershire. Alison Brooks Architects took inspiration from the nearby Forest of Dean for the dark tones and coating pattern of the new volume. The project overlooks the Wye Valley in an area of ​​outstanding natural beauty, so consideration of the environment was crucial in the design; although the addition is now larger than the original 18th-century stone farmhouse, it feels right at home in its rural setting. At the same time, the sustainable strategies incorporated into the new construction mean that the structure remains respectful of its green environment. Examples include ground source and air source heat pumps, solar panels, and a green roof.

Photography: Paul Riddle

“It is a real honor to win the RIBA House of the Year from a list of selected completed projects,” said Alison Brooks. “I view private house commissions as a rare opportunity to test new ideas in a concentrated form – they are the constructed equivalent of writing an essay. Thus, this distinction testifies to my client’s conviction in the value of architecture and his desire to embrace the new. I am grateful for their confidence in me and my team of talented architects, Akera Engineers and the brilliant team of builders and gardeners whose skillful contributions produced this remarkable house and gardens, which together reveal a new way of living. in the landscape.

RIBA House of the Year 2021 shortlist

Corner house by 31/44 Architects

Photography: Rory Gardiner

This townhouse in London is a new end terrace house that completes the row in its residential street. Taking up the Victorian language of neighboring structures, the new design offers a contemporary touch to the well-known typology through abstract shapes and finely tuned details.

House for Theo and Oskar by Tigg + Coll Architects

Photography: Andy Matthews

A family chalet in a suburban setting has been beautifully renovated for Theo and Oskar, who suffer from Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The redesign and extension take this into account, obtaining a space adapted to their daily needs and reducing mobility.

House at Assynt by Mary Arnold-Forster Architects

Photography: David Barbour

This secluded country mansion is one with its rugged surroundings, clad in timber and keeping a low profile to allow the surroundings and views to take center stage. With only 100 m², it is also made in a very durable way.

Outfarm by TYPE Studio

Photography: Rory Gardiner

This barn conversion takes advantage of the masonry, scale and proportions of the existing historic structure to transform it into a generous home that feels fully in tune with its surroundings. The Outfarm is an example of how to make a 21st house out of a neglected and seemingly outdated farm building.

Slot House by Sandy Rendel Architects with Sally Rendel

Photography: Jim Stephenson

How to get the most out of a small urban plot? Sandy Rendel and her team offer an answer to this through the well thought out and bespoke gem of a residential project that is Slot House. Custom interiors meet plenty of natural light in a comfortable family home.

Water tower by Tonkin Liu

Photography: Dennis Pedersen

Converting a disused historic water tower to a modern house is not your usual residential commission; but then again, Tonkin Liu are not your usual architects either. Working with the existing industrial structure and its rawness, the team proposed a new use and a design adapted to the 21st century, and full of surprises.


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