Pritzker Prize laureate and RIBA Gold Medal winner in running for 2019 gong
Bespoke homes in Northern Ireland and Devon – the latter designed by the practice of Pritzker Prize-winner Peter Zumthor – have become the latest additions to the shortlist for Riba House of the Year 2019.
McGonigle McGrath’s House Lessans at Saintfield, south east of Belfast, is a 235 sq m family home that judges said showed “remarkable restraint and skill” at the same time as exuding “calm, dignity and generosity”.
They added that the architects had shown “exemplary” skill in the way they had taken an existing barn and added a new forecourt and a bedroom block, as well as a private courtyard, to create a home with expansive living spaces and views onto rolling landscape.
“It is clear from the resolution and sophistication of an apparently simple architectural language both at a detail and a conceptual level that these architects through their experience and skill continue to find great beauty in the daily routine of living,” they said.
Atelier Peter Zumthor and Mole Architects’ 375 sq m Secular Retreat occupies a Devon hilltop east of Salcombe and was described by Riba South West judges as a “bold, strong, enigmatic and sculptural” house that was “executed without compromise”.
They said Zumthor, who was 2009’s Pritzker Prize laureate and who received the Riba Gold Medal in 2013, had employed “innovative and groundbreaking use of rammed concrete” which resulted in a handcrafted building with no reinforcements in the walls.
“The result, as intended, is an experiential space,” judges said. “The mass and weight of the concrete supported and cantilevered above is impressive. The firmness and permanence is palpable, a feeling that it will last longer than us.”
A seventh and final candidate for the 2019 accolade will be announced on Channel 4’s Grand Designs: House of the Year show on November 13, ahead of the winner’s revelation the same evening.
Last year’s RIBA House of the Year award was won by Haysom Ward Miller for its Lochside House in the West Highlands.