RIBA House of the Year | Beauty Through Simplicity

by | Jan 8, 2020 | #interiors

Showcasing the very best in architectural creativity in residential projects, RIBA’s House of the Year hails a modest home in rural Northern Island a project that sets the benchmark for what is possible without breaking the bank 

House Lessans, an exquisitely simple home in County Down designed by McGonigle McGrath, has been named RIBA House of the Year 2019. The prestigious annual award is given by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) to the UK’s best new architect-designed house.

Built on the site of a former farmstead, House Lessans completes a small compound of agricultural buildings. Its crisp, white rendered concrete walls capped with zinc pitched roofs echo the adjacent corrugated barn and root the family home within the landscape.

House Lessans is formed of two perpendicular blocks – a dramatic double-height living space, and a suite of three bedrooms overlooking a tranquil sheltered courtyard garden. While all rooms are minimal and paired back, they vary dramatically in volume and feel. The open plan kitchen and snug take advantage of the views with huge expanses of glass, while the three, equally-sized bedrooms are restrained, private and more familiar in scale.

House Lessans cost just £1,425 per square metre (£335,000) – which the judges felt was a remarkable achievement for a newly-built home of this scale. Through the application of basic building materials, cost-saving hacks and the simple arrangement of rooms and spaces, McGonigle McGrath have managed to design a home of outstanding quality on a budget.

Walls made of cheap concrete bricks have been carefully laid and painted inside with flush mortar joins to ensure a perfect finish. The huge windows are also fixed throughout – with openings for ventilation – a far cheaper alternative to bifold doors.

RIBA President, Alan Jones, said: “House Lessans demonstrates that life enhancing architecture does not have to cost the earth. Executed with incredible clarity and restraint, McGonigle McGrath have used simple and cheap materials to create a truly bespoke home that resonates with its owners and its context. Even with the tightest of budgets, House Lessans shows that a dream home, designed by a talented architect, can be a reality.”

Architect Kieran McGonigle of McGonigle McGrath, said: “It has been both a delight and a challenge to work on this project; a delight in the beautiful location in this archetypically Ulster landscape and in the simple brief, and a challenge in designing and delivering a precisely detailed and high quality building within a modest budget. The outcome, a small collection of forms in the landscape, contributes to this place and, we hope, extends our understanding of how to make buildings in our countryside.”

House Lessans was revealed as the winner in the final episode of a special Channel 4 series Grand Designs: House of the Year, broadcast in late 2019.

McGonigle McGrath /mcgoniglemcgrath.com

RIBA /architecture.com

Photography: Aiden McGrath 

Other shortlisted projects for RIBA’s House of the Year 2019…

• Nithurst Farm by Adam Richards Architects

• Pocket House by Tikari Works

• A Restorative Rural Retreat for Sartfell by Foster Lomas

• Black House by Dualchas Architects

• Secular Retreat by Atelier Peter Zumthor with Mole Architects

• The Green House by David Sheppard Architects

Green House, Chevithorne, Devon, UK, David Sheppard Architects – Photography Joakim Borén Photography

RIBA House of the Year | Beauty Through Simplicity

by | Jan 8, 2020 | #interiors

Showcasing the very best in architectural creativity in residential projects, RIBA’s House of the Year hails a modest home in rural Northern Island a project that sets the benchmark for what is possible without breaking the bank 

House Lessans, an exquisitely simple home in County Down designed by McGonigle McGrath, has been named RIBA House of the Year 2019. The prestigious annual award is given by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) to the UK’s best new architect-designed house.

Built on the site of a former farmstead, House Lessans completes a small compound of agricultural buildings. Its crisp, white rendered concrete walls capped with zinc pitched roofs echo the adjacent corrugated barn and root the family home within the landscape.

House Lessans is formed of two perpendicular blocks – a dramatic double-height living space, and a suite of three bedrooms overlooking a tranquil sheltered courtyard garden. While all rooms are minimal and paired back, they vary dramatically in volume and feel. The open plan kitchen and snug take advantage of the views with huge expanses of glass, while the three, equally-sized bedrooms are restrained, private and more familiar in scale.

House Lessans cost just £1,425 per square metre (£335,000) – which the judges felt was a remarkable achievement for a newly-built home of this scale. Through the application of basic building materials, cost-saving hacks and the simple arrangement of rooms and spaces, McGonigle McGrath have managed to design a home of outstanding quality on a budget.

Walls made of cheap concrete bricks have been carefully laid and painted inside with flush mortar joins to ensure a perfect finish. The huge windows are also fixed throughout – with openings for ventilation – a far cheaper alternative to bifold doors.

RIBA President, Alan Jones, said: “House Lessans demonstrates that life enhancing architecture does not have to cost the earth. Executed with incredible clarity and restraint, McGonigle McGrath have used simple and cheap materials to create a truly bespoke home that resonates with its owners and its context. Even with the tightest of budgets, House Lessans shows that a dream home, designed by a talented architect, can be a reality.”

Architect Kieran McGonigle of McGonigle McGrath, said: “It has been both a delight and a challenge to work on this project; a delight in the beautiful location in this archetypically Ulster landscape and in the simple brief, and a challenge in designing and delivering a precisely detailed and high quality building within a modest budget. The outcome, a small collection of forms in the landscape, contributes to this place and, we hope, extends our understanding of how to make buildings in our countryside.”

House Lessans was revealed as the winner in the final episode of a special Channel 4 series Grand Designs: House of the Year, broadcast in late 2019.

McGonigle McGrath /mcgoniglemcgrath.com

RIBA /architecture.com

Photography: Aiden McGrath 

Other shortlisted projects for RIBA’s House of the Year 2019…

• Nithurst Farm by Adam Richards Architects

• Pocket House by Tikari Works

• A Restorative Rural Retreat for Sartfell by Foster Lomas

• Black House by Dualchas Architects

• Secular Retreat by Atelier Peter Zumthor with Mole Architects

• The Green House by David Sheppard Architects

Green House, Chevithorne, Devon, UK, David Sheppard Architects – Photography Joakim Borén Photography

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