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Beautifully designed homes - RIBA House of the Year

In our regular series of beautifully designed homes we take a look at the current RIBA House of the Year (2021) is - House on the Hill. A small eighteenth-century farmhouse on an exceptionally beautiful site at the highest point of Gloucestershire has been transformed with a strikingly contemporary extension designed by Alison Brooks Architects.
Beautifully designed homes - RIBA House of the Year
What makes a house beautiful?
 
Is it the design and creativity?
 
Or the use of innovative construction methods and materials?
 
Or is it more of an aesthetic thing?
 
Quintessentially British cottages with roses around the door or trendy penthouse apartments with full-height windows for a 360-degree panoramic rooftop view?
 
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
 
Like art, it's a subjective point of discussion and is often an amalgamation of these and many more attributes.
 
Particularly in the eyes of the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects).
 
Each year the RIBA holds an award for the best architect-designed house in the UK. Decided using stringent criteria and an expert panel of judges to determine which property is the House Of The Year.
 
The judging process and shortlist of entries are broadcast on a channel 4 show with Kevin McCloud, where he, along with a judge from the panel, visit the shortlisted properties and look in detail at the design and architecture.
 
What do the experts consider when looking for beauty in a property?
 
The judges are looking for a visually impactful and stimulating building that delights both the occupants and passers-by.
They're also looking for a cohesive vision reflected throughout the design with special consideration towards environmental sustainability.
 
The architects must demonstrate that they have dealt with a project with ambitious ideas and creative flair.
 
The current RIBA House of the Year (2021) is - House on the Hill.
 
A small eighteenth-century farmhouse on an exceptionally beautiful site at the highest point of Gloucestershire has been transformed with a strikingly contemporary extension designed by Alison Brooks Architects.
 
Simon Allford, the President of the RIBA said, "This geometric design skilfully fuses together the old with the new - connecting two architectures separated by over 300 years. Intriguing and distinguished, House on the Hill is the impressive result of a ten-year collaboration between the homeowners and their architect. This is an extraordinary labour of love in architectural form.
Every detail has been meticulously considered and exquisitely finished, resulting in a truly remarkable home that enhances its unique setting."

 
House on the Hill has been a real labour of love; the architect and owner have worked closely together for many years to get the design just right.
 
They have achieved a perfect mix of architecture, landscape, inhabitation and art, with stunning views overlooking the Wye Valley in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Seamlessly combining home and gallery space, integrating the contemporary extension with the elegant Georgian farmhouse and creating an extraordinary new home for the owners and their art collection.
 
A poised and elegant property filled with light.
 
On one side, three storeys have been united into a complex new gallery space that seamlessly integrates with the contemporary extension and creates an extraordinary new home for the owners and their art collection.

 
The sizeable new wing takes inspiration from the nearby Forest of Dean, partially embedded into the hillside, with its dark tones and cladding pattern.
 
On the ground floor, the kitchen, living and dining areas flow into each other and onto exterior terraces surrounded by a new, bespoke dry-stone-walled garden and panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
 
From the skylights to the walls, the houses' angles are intentionally skewed and undulating, echoing the terrain of the adjacent land.
 
Ground and air source heat pumps and solar panels work together to reduce the building's overall energy consumption. The new wing has an extensive green roof planted with native wildflowers to reduce rainwater loss.


 
As part of the renovations, the surrounding grounds have also been revitalised with new wildflower meadows and orchards, bordered by hedges that have been repaired and renewed with pollen-rich species of plants.
 
RIBA Awards and prizes are the most rigorously judged awards for architectural excellence, decided by a panel of experts and award-winning architects. They assess design excellence, paying particular attention to sustainability.
 
The property must be visually exciting, conceptually ambitious, and fit for purpose. The judges are looking for a building that considers the clients' budget and demonstrates innovation, invention and originality.
 
Taking on a self-build project is a huge undertaking and something that people will usually only do once in their lives, if at all.
 
It takes years of planning, designing, and then building.
 
But the result is a beautiful home that you have created from the ground up. A real labour of love.
 
Do you live in a beautifully designed home? We would love to hear about it.
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