RIBA House of the Year shortlist grows with addition of two more of the UK’s best new homes

Magnus Strom and Ann Nisbet are the latest architects to join the shortlist for RIBA’s 2017 House of the Year award.

Strom Architects’ single-storey The Quest home in Dorset and Ann Nisbet Studio’s zinc-clad Newhouse of Auchengree farmhouse in North Ayrshire bring the shortlist so far to six.

They join entries by James Macdonald Wright and Niall Maxwell, MawsonKerr Architects, Tonkin Liu and Birds Portchmouth Russum in the running for the prestigious prize, awarded to the best new house or extension designed by a UK architect.

A seventh and final entrant will be selected from the 2017 House of the Year long-list, before the winning home is announced next week.

The judging panel, which is chaired by DSDHA co-founder Deborah Saunt and includes 2016 House of the Year winner Richard Murphy, said Strom’s home was a “very simple structural concept” designed for two elderly clients and their disabled daughter.

They said the design had surpassed the aspirations of the clients – which had been expressed in a two-page brief – and delivered flexible, 8-metre-deep open-plan living in a warm and comfortable environment, with a fantastic view out to the south west of their old farmhouse.

The Quest by Strom Architects

Source: Martin Gardner

Living space at The Quest, by Strom Architects

“Extreme purity and intelligence has been at work and the result is an almost effortless sense of space with no split levels,” the citation said.

“There are solar panels discreetly placed on the roof with underfloor heating throughout the house, except the pantry – which is snugly fitted into the rear of the kitchen plan and is a naturally cool space.

“The floor of the main spaces is locally sourced Purbeck limestone and provides a good thermal mass in the winter and summer months, while the glazed facades maximise the natural light.”

They said a low profile had been crucial for the property, as it was visible from the nearby Durlston Country Park, and concluded: “Magnus’ work displays tenacity and vision, while producing a house that has clearly delighted his clients.”

Judges said Nisbet’s Newhouse of Auchengree paid homage to the aesthetic of historic farm buildings of North Ayrshire, reflecting the way rural structures were developed and extended over past decades.

Newhouse of Auchengree

Source: David Barbour

Newhouse of Auchengree by Ann Nisbet Studio

“On this windswept site the cluster is composed carefully to create shelter and, in doing so, a captivating arrival sequence – the long drive up the hill set on axis with a pend [passageway] that at first sight frames a view to the sky beyond and then leads to an entrance court,” they said.

“It is a composition that successfully controls the elements, captures views and mediates between the scale of the wider landscape and the intimate scale of the dwelling.

“The main public spaces and bedrooms are set within a two-storey section with the master bedroom within a linear single-storey area and an annex, accessed via the courtyard, offering a further two bedrooms.”

Newhouse of Auchengree, by Ann Nisbet Studio

Source: David Barbour

Inside Newhouse of Auchengree, by Ann Nisbet Studio

They concluded that, “born out of careful research into the unique vernacular of North Ayrshire” the Newhouse was contemporary, contextual and in harmony with the light and life of its locale.

“This is a project with a strong sense of place – truly a building of its landscape,” they said.

Along with Saunt and Murphy, the 2017 judging panel includes Sandra Coppin of Coppin Dockray Architects, furniture designer Sebastian Cox and comedian Jenny Eclair, who was the client for the 2005 Manser Medal-winning home Stealth House.

The Manser Medal was RIBA’s de-facto House of the Year award for 14 years until 2015.

Newhouse of Auchengree, by Ann Nisbet Studio

Source: Susan Castillo

Newhouse of Auchengree, by Ann Nisbet Studio