New house in Brixton wins RIBA Manser Medal for the best new home

Slip House, a remarkable translucent glass house on a terraced street in Brixton, has won the Royal Institute of British Architects’ (RIBA) prestigious Manser Medal 2013 for the best newly designed private house. The presentation of the award to the winning architects, Carl Turner Architects, took place at a special event at Central Saint Martins in London.

Built on a small patch of land in Brixton, the architects have made a simple and sculptural addition to a street of Victorian terraced houses. Slip House is made up of three ‘boxes’ which sit on top of one another, creating a studio work space downstairs, with living quarters above, above which is a walled roof garden covering the entire footprint of the building. The boxes are carefully placed to maximise light and outlook from inside while not intruding on its neighbour’s outlook.

Speaking about Slip House, the RIBA Manser Medal judges said:

"Slip House demonstrates an admirable commitment to the creation of an exemplary low-energy house, with a suite of sustainable enhancements that are integrated effectively into the building design. However, at no point do the sustainable ambitions of the project crowd out or dominate the refined quality of the spaces that are created. Little wonder then the project was one of Kevin McCloud’s favourite ‘Grand Designs’, one he described as an ‘urban sanctuary’."

The four other houses shortlisted for the 2013 RIBA Manser Medal were:

 

  • Astley Castle, Warwickshire by Witherford Watson Mann Architects

 


  • Crowbrook, Hertfordshire by Knox Bhavan Architects
  • Downley House, Petersfield by Birds Portchmouth Russum Architects
  • Rockmount, The Wirral by Shed KM

The 2013 Manser Medal judges were: Michael Manser CBE; Hugh Broughton, architect; Joe Morris, architect; Caroline Cole, architect and Tony Chapman, Hon FRIBA, RIBA Head of Awards.

Previous winners of the RIBA Manser Medal include architecturepossibles for Maison L, France (2012); Duggan Morris Architects for a modern conversion of a brutalist house in Hampstead (2011), Acme for Hunsett Mill (2010), Pitman Tozer Architects for The Gap House (2009), Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners for Oxley Woods (2008) and Alison Brooks Architects for the Salt House (2007).

The Architects’ Journal is media partner for the RIBA Awards and special awards and trade media partner for the RIBA Stirling Prize.

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Notes to editors

1.For images, interviews and more information about the RIBA Manser Medal please contact Beatrice Cooke at the RIBA on 020 7307 3813; or beatrice.cooke@riba.org

2.Images of Slip House can be downloaded here:

https://app.box.com/s/cyjh87blm1aoj1zo70i8   

3.Judges’ citation for the winning house:

Slip House

Architect: Carl Turner Architects

Client: Private

Structural Engineer: Structure Workshop   

Contractor: Carl Turner Architects 

Contract Value: £450,000 

Date of completion: Sept 2012 

Gross internal area: 195sqm

This is a project that captures the spirit of the 18th century terraced house – a prototype if ever there was one – and gives it a 21st century twist.

Sites like the one now graced by Slip House abound all over London and our major cities: slithers of backland, narrow gaps between other houses. On a tiny fragment of Brixton Carl Tuner has made an elegant and confident prototypical house composed of multiple standard elements and components. Yet the executed design is a highly personal solution, which results in a thoroughly adaptable interior environment. A standardised and semi-industrial material palette is employed throughout, using readily available, cheap materials such sandblasted glass panels for the skin and Bison pre-cast concrete Hollowcore blocks for the floors, yet they are used in an innovative way. The joinery, hand-crafted by the architect, uses materials such as cheap ply, but again the art is in the deployment. Inside and out this house is immaculate in its detail, coordination and execution.

In one sense, what the architect has created is a stage-set which in its current layout perfectly suits the taste of the family. Yet it could easily be transformed to suit the needs of different occupiers through the addition of colour, texture and soft materials, yet still remain true to the spirit of the original. Even its skin could change, chameleon-like, with other materials. Next door the architect has designed a very unidentical twin and he is busy discussing ideas for a terrace based on Slip House with house-builders.

The project demonstrates an admirable commitment to the creation of an exemplar low energy house, with a suite of sustainable enhancements that are integrated effectively into the building design. Solar thermal panels are linked to the ground source heat pump to increase efficiency, utilising the multiple piled foundations. The house was designed to Code for Sustainable Homes Level 5 and Passiv Haus standards but is capable of being ‘unsealed’ by dint of opening windows. At no point do the sustainable ambitions of the project crowd out or dominate the refined quality of the spaces that are created.  Little wonder then the project was one of Kevin McCloud’s favourite ‘Grand Designs’, one he described as an urban sanctuary.

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5.The Royal Institute of British Architects champions better buildings, communities and the environment through architecture and its members.

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