The winner of the 2016 RIBA House of the Year award is Murphy House in Edinburgh, designed by Richard Murphy Architects
This is Richard Murphy’s own house in Edinburgh, which he describes as ‘a quarter Soane, a quarter Scarpa, a quarter eco-house and a quarter Wallace and Gromit‘ . Revealed in the final episode of a special series of Grand Designs, presenter Kevin McCloud and the judging panel were impressed with the intricate mechanisms of the house which stood ‘like a futuristic bookend‘ surrounded by 18th-century houses.
Build on a plot of only 36ft by 20ft, the 1,800sq ft house is on eight levels and is a triumph of space over size, packed with gadgets including automatic shutters, a bedroom with a hidden bath, walls that fold out and a bookcase with secret window panel.
Taking direct references from the neighbouring Georgian terraces, and with a clever change of scale, it is both deferential and powerfully striking in the street. It is also a house that responds to the Scottish climate, opening up to the summer sun and then shutting itself down to create a snug retreat during winter, all the time with a wit and style that Murphy has honed over the years
The RIBA House of the Year is awarded to the best new house designed by an architect in the UK. The award, sponsored by Hiscox Home Insurance and Paint & Paper Library, replaces the previous title ‘RIBA Manser Medal’ which was created in 2001 to celebrate excellence in housing design.