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Two of the UK's best new homes shortlisted for RIBA House of the Year award

RIBA House of the Year 2016 shortlist episode 1

25 November 2016

Ansty Plum, a 1960s modernist house in rural Wiltshire that has been lovingly renovated and sensitively extended to reduce its carbon emissions by 80 per cent and Outhouse, a discreet and sustainable, partly-subterranean concrete house on a sloping plot in the Forest of Dean, have been announced today (24 November at 10pm) as the first two houses to be shortlisted for the coveted 2016 RIBA House of the Year award, sponsored by Hiscox Home Insurance. The award is run by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

The projects in the running for the UK’s most prestigious award for a new house are being revealed in a special four part TV series for Channel 4, Grand Designs: House of the Year. During the course of the series which began today (Thursday 24 November 2016 at 9pm), the seven homes shortlisted for the 2016 RIBA House of the Year award will be announced; the winner will be revealed on screen on Thursday 15 December.

The first two projects shortlisted for the 2016 RIBA House of the Year are:

  • Ansty Plum, Wiltshire by Coppin Dockray
  • Outhouse, Forest of Dean by Loyn & Co Architects

The RIBA House of the Year is sponsored by Hiscox Home Insurance and Paint and Paper Library. Please use @RIBA #HouseOfTheYear in your social media.


Notes to editors:

  1. For further press information contact Howard Crosskey: 020 7307 3814
  2. The RIBA House of the Year award is awarded every year to the best new house designed by an architect in the UK. It was created in 2001 (and called the RIBA Manser Medal until 2014) to celebrate excellence in housing design.
  3. The judges for the 2016 RIBA House of the Year award, Chair, Meredith Bowles from Mole Architects, RIBA Awards Jury Chair and RIBA House of the Year longlist 2015, Charlotte Skene Catling from Skene Catling de la Pena, RIBA House of the Year winner 2015, Jonathan Dallas from Dallas Pierce Quintero, RIBA House of the Year longlist 2015, Elle Stathaki Architecture Editor for Wallpaper* and Phil Thorn, Head of Direct Homes Insurance Hiscox.
  4. Hiscox is a global specialist insurer with a 100 year heritage of insuring unusual or complex risks, such as high value homes, fine art and other collections. RIBA House of the Year is sponsored by Hiscox Home Insurance, visit for more information about our Home Insurance.
  5. Paint & Paper Library was established in London over 20 years ago: its mission is to provide inspiration, colour expertise and design ideas for interior decorators, architects, specifiers and discerning homeowners worldwide. The company’s paints are credited with creating an unrivalled balance of colour, mood and light in contemporary interiors.
  6. Paint & Paper Library’s colour card falls into two sections: ‘Architectural Colours’ and ‘Original Colours’. ‘Architectural Colours’ is an easy-to-use, colour-by-number system, designed to provide simple alternatives to white. It comes in a choice of 95 graduated shades, individually formulated using different strengths of the same pigments to achieve subtle shade differentiations within any interior. The company also prides itself on producing the flattest emulsion on the market, as well as several more durable finishes for ‘every day’. For more information visit
  7. The Royal Institute of British Architects (@RIBA) is a global professional membership body that serves its members and society in order to deliver better buildings and places, stronger communities and a sustainable environment. @RIBA
  8. Grand Designs: House of the Year is produced by Boundless, producers of Grand Designs.

The RIBA judges’ full citations for each building follows:

Ansty Plum by Coppin Dockray - shortlisted for the RIBA House of the Year

Ansty Plum is a very special 20th century house, resurrected for viable modern living without damaging the spirit or the fabric of the original. In the house what has been taken away, and what has not been added is as important as what has been rescued or retained.

The building is now perhaps as close to its original form as at any time in its subsequent development and the removal of limited but unhappy accruals, such as an en-suite shower room on the first floor platform were essential in re-setting the balance of the space. Careful thought has led to a building that is discretely and successfully heated, lit, insulated and serviced leaving the classic period interior intact and the house’s future assured. One could debate the change in atmosphere created by replacing the original brick floor to allow underfloor heating and service improvements, but the use of stock paving slabs surface-ground down to the aggregate is a clever and pleasing intervention that sits well in context. The house is modest and the viability initiative sensibly and sensitively looked elsewhere for ancillary accommodation.

The stone shell of the dilapidated Smithson designed studio adjacent to the house was inhabited to provide an accommodation annexe featuring bedroom, shower room and storage sub-space, sitting above a garage and store on the steeply sloping site. The apparent collapsed state of the building could perhaps have led to a slightly bolder, that is a less reverent, architecture but the rebuild is fastidiously faithful to the spirit of the original whilst adding considerable comfort and some delight. The space is lined with timber of a delicious hue to create an almost nostalgic atmosphere. Great care has been applied in detail throughout; a frameless and seamless door hung on a brass piano hinge opens to reveal a glass backed shower room overlooking a fern lined embankment in a typical example. This is an intimate gem of a space which complements the initiatives undertaken in the main house, as a skilfully crafted small project.

Outhouse by Loyn & Co - shortlisted for the RIBA House of the Year

Outhouse is located on a fabulous sloping plot in the Forest of Dean running beside Offa’s Dyke, with long views to the Wye Valley and Severn Estuary. The design exploits the site potential to the full with a discreet design that beds into the site literally and metaphorically, finely balancing respect to context with confident architectural expression.

The simplicity of the house, which was undoubtedly hard-won, is founded on rigour and restraint. This is a house with a field on top - not an ‘architectural’ green roof but a proper field, punctured with light wells that creatures are having to learn to avoid. It is a concrete house where the concrete feels warm and luxurious and a considered and crafted palette of surfaces form a backdrop for the artist-owners’ own refined art and furniture.

The design eloquently and effortlessly tackles many familiar issues; the blurred relationship between interior and exterior space, the penetration of light into a deep single aspect plan, the control of sustainability without flaunting it.

The key architectural device is a rigorous plan organisation separating studio and working spaces on the uphill side and glass fronted living spaces on the downhill side to take advantage of spectacular views. The building’s backbone is a linear circulation space driven through the plan perpendicular to the site slope, with the front door at one end and Wales at the other. The entrance is a modernist set-piece with a covered approach flanked by a black pigmented concrete pavilion and a simple solid open stair running through a rectangular puncture in the roof plane. Channelled views through the glass door reveal the spine, active as a gallery space opens to and illuminated by the living space on the downslope side. Fleeting glimpses of the retired owner’s traversing the house on micro-scooters confirmed the very definite feeling that we wanted to enter.

To misquote Renee Zellweger in Jerry Maguire: ‘they had us at "Hello"’.

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