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House on the Hill designed by Alison Brooks Architects wins RIBA House Of The Year 2021

United Kingdom Architecture News - Dec 09, 2021 - 15:24   2968 views

House on the Hill designed by Alison Brooks Architects wins RIBA House Of The Year 2021

House on the Hill, a strikingly contemporary extension to a 18th century stone Georgian farmhouse in Gloucestershire, designed by Alison Brooks Architects, has won the RIBA House of the Year 2021.

The prestigious award is given by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) for reviving local traditions and handmade materials, to name the UK’s best new architect-designed house. 

The winner was revealed in the final episode of Grand Designs: House of the Year, on Wednesday 8 December at 9pm on Channel 4.

London-based architecture firm Alison Brooks Architects has designed a new wing, featuring dark-colored palette and cladding pattern inspired by the nearby Forest of Dean, while the 18th century stone farmhouse, was converted into a gallery space - overlooking the Wye Valley in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

House on the Hill designed by Alison Brooks Architects wins RIBA House Of The Year 2021

"Intriguing and distinguished"

"This geometric design skilfully fuses together the old with the new – connecting two architectures separated by over 300 years," said RIBA President Simon Allford. 

"Intriguing and distinguished, House on the Hill is the impressive result of a ten-year collaboration between the homeowners and their architect. This is an extraordinary labour of love in architectural form."

"Every detail has been meticulously considered and exquisitely finished, resulting in a truly remarkable home that enhances its unique setting."

The renovation was developed for an art-collecting couple for their art collection. By combining history and new material in elegant way, together the farmhouse and extension form "an extraordinary new home for the owners and their art collection," as the RIBA mentions.

The three-storey farmhouse has been converted into a large gallery space that seamlessly integrates with the contemporary extension.

House on the Hill designed by Alison Brooks Architects wins RIBA House Of The Year 2021

On the other hand, larger than the original house, the studio has designed a new two-storey wing that is set back, partially embedded into the hillside. The new extension features dark tones and cladding pattern.

On the ground floor, there are common living spaces: a kitchen, a living area and dining areas that flow into each other and onto exterior terraces. 

The kitchen, placed in the centre, is overlooked by a gallery on the floor above, the space is flooded with natural light, and offers up panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, including into a new, bespoke dry-stone-walled garden.

The home's main staircase doubles-up as a gallery and leads up to two bedrooms, an office and a further terrace.

"It’s a real honour to win RIBA House of the Year amongst an accomplished shortlist of beautiful projects. I see private house commissions as a rare opportunity to test new ideas in a concentrated form – they are the built equivalent of writing an essay," said architect Alison Brooks, the founder of Alison Brooks Architects. 

"So, this accolade is a testament to my client’s belief in the value of architecture and their willingness to embrace the new." 

"I’m grateful for their trust in me and my team of talented architects, in Akera Engineers and the brilliant team of builders and gardeners whose skilful contributions produced this remarkable house and gardens, that together reveal a new way of living in the landscape," she added.

House on the Hill designed by Alison Brooks Architects wins RIBA House Of The Year 2021

"From the skylights to the walls and the cruciform-steel-columns, the angles throughout the house are intentionally skewed and undulating, echoing the topography of the adjacent meadows, and drawing the eye onwards to new and surprising focal points," described in a project statement. 

The studio adds various niches, benches and recesses to add the fluidity and playfulness to the space and provide practical areas to display the owner's art.

Ground and air source heat pumps and solar panels work together to reduce the building’s overall energy consumption, and the new wing has an extensive green roof planted with native wildflowers to reduce rainwater loss.

House on the Hill designed by Alison Brooks Architects wins RIBA House Of The Year 2021

As part of the renovations, the surrounding grounds have also been revitalised with new wildflower meadows and orchards, bordered by hedges that have been repaired and renewed with pollen-rich species of plants.

Chair of the RIBA House of the Year 2021 jury, architect Amin Taha, said: "Some decades in the making, the replacement of a very large 1970s shed housing a pool and ancillary spaces with Alison Brooks Architects lower scaled and fragmented form impressed the jury, in a highly competitive year with contenders excelling in sustainability, craftsmanship, reuse, economy of means and thought-provoking sensitivity." 

"House on the Hill balanced these where others may have, for instance reused but at disproportionate cost, or crafted but to no innovative end," Taha added.

"The jury felt Alison Brooks Architects had applied their long-researched process of subtly breaking down the rigid and spatially predictable grid with gentle inflection. Adding depth of scale and richness of experience to the existing house, and through the new extension, transitioning with ease into the beautifully landscaped gardens."

"It is a model of architectural approach applicable to all scales, resulting from the architects’ long practiced ideas and the clients’ successful collaboration," Taha continued.

House on the Hill designed by Alison Brooks Architects wins RIBA House Of The Year 2021

Alison Brooks Architects' House on the Hill was selected from a strong shortlist, including Corner House by 31/44 Architects, House for Theo and Oskar by Tigg + Coll Architects, House in Assynt by Mary Arnold-Forster Architects, The Outfarm by TYPE Studio, The Slot House by Sandy Rendel Architects with Sally Rendel and The Water Tower by Tonkin Liu.

The jury for the House of the Year 2021 was: Amin Taha (Chair), Chairman of GROUPWORK, Cany Ash, Co-founder of Ash Sakula Architects, Kieran McGonigle, Co-founder of McGonigle McGrath and RIBA House of the Year 2019 winner.

In 2019, McGonigle McGrath's House Lessans won RIBA House Of The Year 2019, and in 2017, Caring Wood by James Macdonald Wright and Niall Maxwell was named House Of The Year 2017.

All images © Paul Riddle 

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