The Red House, a contemporary new family house in rural Dorset, designed by David Kohn Architects, has been named RIBA House of the Year 2022: awarded annually to the best architect-designed house in the UK.
The Red House is situated in the rolling hills of rural Dorset. The owners fell in love with the idyllic location and stunning panoramic views when they first visited the site in 2011 and, 10 years later, moved into their dream family home.
The house takes inspiration from the Arts and Crafts movement, reinterpreting the style in an intentionally provocative way. The house’s playful eccentricity, including oversized eaves, patterned red brickwork, and contrasting bold green details, jumps out - but this is consistently underpinned by outstanding craftsmanship and attention to detail.
The open plan ground floor creates a light, airy atmosphere. Different ‘rooms’ are formed by walls moving in and out of alignment – offering only glimpses into the different areas, rather than a full view down the length of the house. This provides the practical and accessible ease of open plan living, alongside the cosiness of more enclosed spaces. The staircase is a central feature of the house – a sumptuous, sculptural design sweeping up to the first floor and dropping down through a projecting bay window.
The owners wanted a home that could adapt for future accessibility needs. The staircase has two handrails, there are rounded corners on built-in furniture, grab-rails on the fronts of cupboards, no door handles to turn – and even a lift. This thoughtful design future proofs, without comprising on the needs of the present or the style of the house.
Consideration has also been given to designing for climate change. The house has thick walls and deep eaves, serving to protect the façade from the elements and minimise overheating during summer months - crucial considerations as the climate progressively changes. The concrete has been left exposed to maximise the thermal stability of the interiors and the deep concrete foundations have been replaced by steel piles, reducing the embodied carbon in the groundworks. Biodiversity has been woven in, with the slate roof discretely providing a home for the local bat population. Further nesting sites have also been incorporated into the brickwork and eaves to encourage wildlife.
Building Stories: RIBA House of the Year 2022 winner
19 January 2023, 6pm to 10.30pm
RIBA, 66 Portland Place, London
Come and celebrate the RIBA House of the Year 2022 winner, The Red House by David Kohn Architects, and hear the story behind the winning project.