Marking their annual end-of-year tradition, RIBA has today announced the first two shortlist houses to be featured in Episode 1 of the BBC Channel 4’s Grand Designs House of the Year program.
Both designs were taken from the previously announced 20-entry longlist and will compete against 5 others for the title, which this year focuses on “Hard to Build” residential projects.
The first, a reimagined beachfront property called Seabreeze from RX Architects that is inaccessible by road, comes externally finished with pink-pigmented trowelled microfiber concrete to create a sealed envelope which then combines with a deliberate lack of gutters and window ledges to create robust and weatherproof structure safe from the corrosion of wind and sand.
Inside, the house features a wellness spa and other enhancements further emphasizing its bespoke and “festive character.” A timber stair leads to the structure’s wood-lined bedrooms, offering a sweeping view of the English Channel and surrounding East Sussex environ. In a press announcement, the RIBA jury referred to the 1,915-square-foot design as holiday-friendly and a “naughty-but-nice gem.”
It is joined by David Kohn Architects’ The Red House located in Dorset. Rendered in traditional English red brick with green accents, its design creates a “playful take on the rural vernacular farmhouse” and was hailed by Guardian critic Rowan Moore as a blend of the best elements of Louis Kahn and James Stirling.
Interior storage cores help to organize the flow of spaces around the home that are further unified by the “utilitarian and pragmatic” material palette, joinery, parquetry, and rich blockwork finishes. The house was designed for an art-collecting couple and their daughter but can be adapted to accommodate the needs of elderly residents and guests in the future. The RIBA jury says this is “a project full of delight and invention, pragmatism, and eccentricity along with knowing references, formal and informal gestures.”
Additional shortlisted projects will be announced via BBC’s Channel 4 on November 23rd, 30th, and December 7th, respectively. A winner will be announced by the end of January as part of the joint Grand Designs: House of the Year broadcast. Links to each episode can be found here.
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