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Two of the UK’s best new homes shortlisted for RIBA House of the Year 2018

Two of the UK’s best new homes shortlisted for RIBA House of the Year 2018

07 November 2018

Pheasants, a striking new house next to the Thames that took a decade to complete, and Red House, a bold red brick new-build house on an awkward site at the end of a South East London Victorian terrace – are the first two homes to be shortlisted for the 2018 RIBA House of the Year award.

Pheasants, Sarah Griffiths + Amin Taha © Tim Soar and Red House, 31/44 Architects © Rory Gardiner

The first two shortlisted homes were revealed in the opening episode of a special four-part Channel 4 TV series - Grand Designs: House of the Year broadcast this evening (Wednesday 7 November). The full shortlist of seven homes will be revealed during the series, with the winner announced in the final episode, to be broadcast on Wednesday 28 November.

The shortlist for the 2018 RIBA House of the Year is:

  • Pheasants by Sarah Griffiths + Amin Taha
  • Red House by 31/44 Architects
  • ? – to be announced on 14 November 2018
  • ? – to be announced on 14 November 2018
  • ? – to be announced on 21 November 2018
  • ? – to be announced on 21 November 2018
  • ? – to be announced on 28 November 2018

The 2018 RIBA House of the Year is sponsored by Forterra.


Notes to editors:

  1. For further press information contact 020 7307 3811.
  2. Images of all the houses featured on Episode 1 of Grand Designs: House of the Year can be downloaded here:
  3. The next episode of Grand Designs: House of the Year airs on Wednesday 14th November at 9pm on Channel 4.
  4. The RIBA House of the Year award is awarded every year to the best new house or house extension designed by an architect in the UK. Previous winners include Richard Murphy Architects for Murphy House (2016), Skene Catling de la Peña for Flint House (2015), Loyn & Co for Stormy Castle (2014) and Carl Turner Architects for Slip House (2013).
  5. For the first time this year Forterra is sponsoring RIBA House of the Year. Forterra is a leading manufacturer of a diverse range of clay and concrete building products, used extensively within the construction sector, and employs over 1,800 people across 18 facilities in the UK. It is the second largest brick and aircrete block manufacturer in the country, and the only producer of the iconic London Brick. Other trusted brands from Forterra include Thermalite, Conbloc, Ecostock, Butterley, Cradley, Red Bank, Bison Precast, Jetfloor and Formpave.
  6. 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. Follow @RIBA on Twitter for regular updates
  7. Grand Designs: House of the Year is produced by Boundless, producers of Grand Designs.
  8. The RIBA judges’ full citations and image links for each building follows:

Pheasants by Sarah Griffiths + Amin Taha


For this project, the ideas of convention and compromise do not exist. It has taken more than a decade from inception to completion, it has been a titanic struggle to win permission and get the thing built, but there is no evidence that anything at any scale has ever been downgraded or any difficulty sidestepped.

And the design, which has taken so much time and effort to realise, is extraordinary in its challenge to convention. The site beside the Thames is spacious and south-facing; the diagram for the building could easily be a simple arrangement of lawns to the river, living spaces facing south, servant spaces on the north, driveway etc.

Here though, the diagram is very different - and all the richer and more rewarding for it. The approach to the house is by foot; there is no generous parking forecourt, just a small parking area by the entrance.

Then there is a straight path which first passes a Corten steel ancillary pavilion and then an over-sized reflecting pool, before tucking into the house, confronting a small top-lit court, and finally turning sideways into the living space.

This pattern of movement through major and minor spaces with promenades and pauses continues through the house itself, overturning assumptions about how spaces should be disposed and what they should address. And yet it all works beautifully and the house is clearly a comfort and joy to the clients.

The striking front elevation is a literal one-liner, an S-shaped line of concrete that seems to defy gravity as it hangs over the glass and perforated Corten steel ribbon around the ground floor spaces.

One might imagine that the interior would be servant to the exterior conceit. Not so. Inside is an unexpected pleasure - full of top-light, dramatic panoramic views and finely-crafted features.

This house is an extraordinary achievement both by the clients and by the architects. The design takes cues from history in its use of water, its axial sidesteps and the relationship between house and outhouse. Then it radically reframes these ideas in a wholly new and unique manner: it’s uncompromising and uplifting.

Quantity Surveyor: Fleming Russell Stent

Structural Engineer: Adams Kara Taylor (akt II)

Structural Design Staircase: Webb Yates Engineers

Lighting Design: Pritchard Themis

M&E Engineer: Peter Deer & Associates

Concrete Consultancy: David Bennett - Concrete Consultant

Concrete Consultancy & Concrete Contractor: Toureen Mangan

Structural Design/Corten Carport: AFP Partnership

Internal Area: 575 m²

Red House by 31/44 Architects


A new-build home which is an assertive piece of architecture, justly confident of its place in the street without being disrespectful, and sharing something of the spirit, solidity, and decoration of the Victorian surroundings without veering towards any kind of artificiality.

The scheme matches the size, scale and character of the surrounding two-storey dwellings, while providing a 137 square metre split-level three-storey contemporary home. The site the architects had to work with was awkward in shape and levels and they had to deal with the challenge of privacy and avoiding overlooking neighbours. Yet they have excelled in dealing with each using the position of the chimney and location.

As the end of the terrace the site is an unusual shape with an imposed kink in the road and angled flank of the adjacent house. The architects have inventively carved into the space a series of intimately angled living spaces sprinkled with small glazed courtyards, drawing light and ventilation deep into the low-level kitchen, dining and living spaces.

This 'pushed and pulled' series of visually connected spaces resolves the complex geometrical challenge creating a homely space.

A timber stair, which greets you at the entrance and stretches the length of the home is detailed with shadow gaps and vertical lines of cladding helping light travel down the building. Painted white this spine of a stair connects the whole house as a single building. The entrance hall has a large window with enough space for coats, bags and shoes. Storage in the living space is carefully hidden away.

Bedrooms and bathrooms are a good size, light and decoration kept simple, giving occupants a blank canvas to develop as they wish. The red brick used on the facade matches the highlight brick in the existing terrace and the patterned pre-cast pigmented concrete panel above the front door echoes the decorative brick patterns on the terraced street. The facade is fun and crafted.

The material selection is tactile, elegant and warm perfectly coordinated with the design as a whole. The client was supportive and encouraging of the architects. The architects answered their brief and the house is now occupied by clients who love the home.

The architects have produced an exquisite crafted home that responds elegantly to its context providing delight to its users as well as to the surrounding area.

Internal Area: 130 m²

Contractor: Studio PL Ltd

Structural Engineers: Elite Designers Structural Engineers

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