RIBA House of the Year 2023 revealed

Latest News Wed, Dec 6, 2023 7:37 AM

Green House, a family home inspired by nature, designed by Hayhurst & Co., has been named RIBA House of the Year 2023.

This prestigious annual award, presented by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) recognises the best example of UK one-off house design.

Photo: Killian O'Sullivan

Green House creatively reimagines a typical terraced house, replacing an existing property down an alleyway, on a confined urban plot. Clad in polycarbonate panels and screened with dense planting, the discrete exterior hides an extraordinary, compact new home.

The Riad-inspired urban oasis is flooded with greenery and natural light and has been described by RIBA’s jury as a ‘domestic greenhouse’ and ‘extraordinary ordinary house’.

Located in a conservation area in Tottenham, the double-aspect views to the gardens and a roof terrace further emphasise the property’s interrelation to its former, surrounding greenery. The atrium’s rooflights bring daylight into the heart of the home – casting shadows on the walls and changing with each season.

Hayhurst & Co. delivered the vision of owners Tom and Amandine who wanted to create a low-cost, functional five-bedroom home for their growing family, that maximised living space, gave a sense of airiness and access to nature.

Photo: Killian O'Sullivan

On the ground floor, the kitchen, dining and living areas flow into one other with an occasional step in level, and can be subdivided by floor-to-ceiling sweeping curtains – an ‘ultra-practical’ arrangement that makes the spaces work exceptional well for this family’s life. Photographer Tom utilises the generous space and ceiling height to host shoots and the stage provides an ideal location for the children’s drama performances! Bold, green-painted steel stairs are the core feature of a vast and dramatic central atrium leading to the bedrooms and bathrooms.

Green House embraces a ‘biophilic design’ approach - increasing connections to the natural environment - and challenges expectations of similar urban typologies.

The atrium, bamboo planting and exterior sliding polycarbonate screens, reference the verdant character and market gardens that once stood on the back land plot – blurring boundaries between indoors and outside spaces. The screens and planting also enable the family to adjust the levels of privacy and ventilation.

Intelligent use of materials, including Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) walls, reclaimed concrete blocks and recycled cork rubber flooring maximise the energy efficiency of the property, while the central block form is an efficient approach to reduce operational energy use. Air-source heat pumps and solar panels are in use to also reduce energy demand.

Photo: Killian O'Sullivan

Jury Chair, Dido Milne, said of this year’s winner: “Green House, affectionately known as the ‘Tottenham Riad’, is a true oasis within the city. It is both airy and cosy, bold yet respectful of its neighbours. Your eye is simultaneously drawn upwards to open sky and down and out across the living room to verdant greenery.

“The close architect and client relationship, with a joint desire to deliver a truly sustainable home, is evident in all of the design decisions and detailing. On a confined urban site, the house was delivered to a tight budget with an economy of means – and it remains richer for it.

“Nowhere do you feel the site or budget was restricted. It feels both luxurious, homely, deeply private and relaxing. It’s an extraordinary ordinary house and a remarkable collaboration.”

The RIBA House of the Year 2023 jury comprised: Dido Milne, Director of CSK Architects, Bev Dockray, co-founder of Coppin Dockray Architects, Jessam Al-Jawad, Director and co-founder of multi-disciplinary architecture studio Al-Jawad Pike and Albert Hill, co-founder of The Modern House and Inigo.

The shortlist of the RIBA House of the Year 2023 was:

  • Cowshed by David Kohn Architects
  • Hundred Acre Wood by Denizen Works
  • Made of Sand by Studio Weave
  • Middle Avenue by Rural Office
  • Saltmarsh House by Niall McLaughlin Architects

Photo: Killian O'Sullivan

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