The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has this evening (Thursday 16 October) announced the winner of the 2014 RIBA Manser Medal, the UK’s most prestigious housing design award. Stormy Castle by Loyn & Co, a brave contemporary private house in an area of outstanding natural beauty atop a hillside on the Gower peninsula in Wales has been named Britain’s best new home.
Despite its remote and unforgiving local environment, the architects created a three-storey home that pulls a remarkable amount of natural light deep into its interior. Complimenting this are polished concrete floors flowing throughout and crystalline white ceilings which help create a contemporary feel in such a rural setting. Rusted steel on the external doors, cladding and on the roof of the retained barn evoke a raw, honest aesthetic and sit well with materials used locally in agriculture buildings.
Full-height glazing maximise the views on to designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and although the house is 725 square metres in area, much of it is cleverly hidden underground, emerging to make the most of the stunning views of the manicured perimeter and the wild meadow and heathland stretching beyond.
RIBA Manser Medal Chair Michael Manser CBE said: ‘The aim of the Manser Medal has always been to influence the public to demand, and the mass house builders to supply, better designed homes. I believe by highlighting brave architecture like this year’s winner Stormy Castle we can showcase what can be achieved.
This is a bold design in an area of Wales where arguably more conservative design solutions usually hold sway. I was impressed by the sustainability credentials, with a comprehensive range of energy, recycling and heating strategies incorporated into the design, which will be invaluable in dealing with such a large footprint.’
The judges for the award are Michael Manser CBE (chair), Robert Hiscox, Honorary President of Hiscox, Lady Patty Hopkins, Carl Turner (winner of the 2013 Manser Medal) and Tony Chapman, RIBA Head of Awards.
The RIBA Manser Medal is sponsored by specialist insurer Hiscox.
The Architects’ Journal is media partner for the RIBA awards and professional media partner for the RIBA Stirling Prize.