RIBA House of the Year

John Hill
29. November 2017
Photo: James Morris

The Royal Institute of British Architects has announced that Caring Wood, designed by James Macdonald Wright and Niall Maxwell, is the RIBA House of the Year 2017.

The house – one of 49 winners in the RIBA National Awards announced in June – is located on 84 acres in the English countryside. Inspired by traditional oast houses, the agricultural buildings for kilning hops, Caring Wood is made up of four towers that echo other oast houses in the surrounding landscape.

Photo: James Morris

The jury* was pleased with the way the three-generation family home "leads us to fundamentally question how we might live together in the future." Specifically, it is "taking huge risks in asking how we collectively might live inter-generationally as social structures evolve," with "grandparents and grandchildren exchanging experiences and enlivening each other’s sense of self, parents finding a place to catch up alone as children play." 

Photo: James Morris

Furthermore, jury chair Deborah Saunt described the house as "a brave project offering a new prototype. This intimate house delights in the way it beautifully manipulates space and avoids grandiosity. Unobtrusive within its landscape, it builds on the pattern of settlement centuries old. This is a house for all ages."

Drawing: James Wright and Niall Maxwell

*The House of the Year jury consisted of Deborah Saunt (DSDHA, Jury Chair), Richard Murphy (Richard Murphy Architects, 2016 RIBA House of the Year winner), Sandra Coppin (Coppin Dockray Architects), Sebastian Cox (Sebastian Cox Studio), and Jenny Eclair (writer, comedian and client for 2005 Manser Medal winner Stealth House).

Photo: James Morris

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