Second tranche of finalists announced for 2017 RIBA award

A dramatically located family home on the White Cliffs of Dover and a quirky self-build home in north London are the latest additions to the shortlist for RIBA’s 2017 House of the Year awards.

Tonkin Liu’s Ness Point and Birds Portchmouth Russum’s 6 Wood Lane join houses by James Macdonald Wright and Niall Maxwell, and MawsonKerr Architects in the running for prize.

A further three shortlisted schemes are set to be unveiled ahead of the announcement of the winner on November 28.

Judges said Ness Point appeared to “grow out of its dramatic setting”, with undulating thick walls along its length, while internally pushing the idea of “organic functionalism”, with unfolding new space relations and interruptions designed to lead the eye in other directions.

“The plan of the house, while modest in scale, very much describes a journey as you move through each floor with framed views which pull the landscape into the house,” they said.

“The orthogonal central walls serve as dividers for the various functions of the ground floor but do not meet the undulating external wall, so that you are able to weave through the series of rooms and there is the feeling of skirting along the side of a cliff face.

Ness Point, by Tonkin Liu

Source: Nick Guttridge

Ness Point, by Tonkin Liu

“Upstairs, the plan continues as an enfilade suite of bedrooms. Each room is orientated towards a different aspect of the landscape, across the passing ships of the English Channel to the cliffs known as Ness Point.

“The spaces are modest, the plan tight and every inch is put to good use. Each bedroom has a balcony no wider than half a metre, which gives a miniature, personalised garden to each bedroom.”

Judges said 6 Wood Lane in Highgate was an “exuberant and well-loved home” carefully crafted by its owners as a self-build project over the space of more than seven years.

“Its idiosyncratic style connects each design aspect – from its curving form hovering above the street, to the detail of a chain-operated roof light,” they said.

6 Wood Lane by Birds Portchmouth Russum

Source: Magdalena Pietrzyk

6 Wood Lane by Birds Portchmouth Russum

“The architect’s ambition was to create a home for urban living, which contrasts tightly planned functional spaces with generous living spaces to maximize daylight and views.

“The building achieves this spatial contrast: a small entrance, tiny bathrooms and boat-like staircases, uncurl into connected living spaces, with views between areas in the house and out into the garden.

“A slim store beneath the entrance seat perfectly sized for tennis racquets; a luminous green interior to the post box; a curved blue desk for making sculpture; a yellow floor beneath a quirky, zig-zag, glazed winter garden dome and a functional shed hidden in a cosy garden come together to create a surprising house that will engage and provoke debate for its occupants and visitors.”

The judging panel is chaired by Deborah Saunt, of DSDHA, and includes 2016 House of the Year winner Richard Murphy, Sandra Coppin of Coppin Dockray Architects, 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.