RIBA House of the Year revealed

Each year the Royal Institute of British Architects, of which we are a member, announces its house of the year.

The 2016 RIBA House of the Year has been revealed as Murphy House in Edinburgh. A bit far from our base here in Mid Wales, Powys and Ceredigion, but worth a read. What do you think of it? Why not tell us on Facebook or tweet us @hughesarchitect

This five-level house is a surprising addition to an otherwise conservative sandstone terraced street in Edinburgh’s UNESCO-listed New Town. Built on an awkward plot at the end of a terrace, Richard Murphy has designed for himself a deeply personal space filled with tricks, surprises and references to his own design heroes.  From a hidden bath in the master bedroom and a folding corner wall, to sliding bookshelf ladders that glide around the subterranean library, this house is filled with a unique and spirited charm. Murphy, inspired by the work of the late Carlo Scarpa, a 20th century Italian architect has created a house full of pure, beautiful craftsmanship.

RIBA President Jane Duncan said: “The Murphy House is this year’s best example of how to overcome challenging constraints – from planning restrictions and an awkward site in an urban location - to build a stunning house. Plus the architect overcame one of the biggest obstacles: a demanding client – himself!

“Nearly a decade in the making, this house is a true labour of love for Richard. Part jigsaw puzzle, with its hidden and unexpected spaces, and part Wallace and Gromit with its moving pieces and disappearing walls, this is a model house of pure perfection and a worthy winner of the RIBA House of the Year 2016.”

Richard Murphy said:  “We celebrated our 25th birthday last month and to receive this award is a wonderful present with such astonishing levels of public interest. It’s our 21st RIBA award, and takes its place in a long line of awards for buildings small and large and for whole variety of types including domestic, educational, health, arts and a new British Embassy. It emphasises yet again that the practice demonstrates both great versatility and consistently high quality in all its work current and past. It’s been a huge pleasure to develop a lifetime’s themes and now it gives me great pleasure to live there.”

House of the Year judge, Philip Thorn from Hiscox said: "Murphy House was a real box of tricks with a unique, playful character. Although a small property, it was deceivingly large inside due to the clever use of space. Every room contained a surprise and the attention to detail was exceptional. The roof terrace was a real oasis of calm and I loved the long list of environmentally friendly touches. A true pleasure to visit and I would imagine a lot of fun to live in."

Also announced this evening was the seventh and final home shortlisted for the RIBA House of the Year: Tin House in west London by Henning Stummel Architects. The full shortlist for the 2016 RIBA House of the Year award is:

  • Ansty Plum, Wiltshire by Coppin Dockray
  • Covert House, Clapham, south London by DSDHA
  • Garden House in Hackney, east London by Hayhurst and Co
  • Modern Mews in central London by Coffey Architects
  • Murphy House, New Town, Edinburgh by Richard Murphy Architects
  • Outhouse, Forest of Dean by Loyn & Co Architects
  • Tin House in west London, by Henning Stummel Architects