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Farmhouse that took a decade to restore named House of the Year

riba house of the year 2021
House on the Hill, a strikingly contemporary extension to a Georgian farmhouse in Gloucestershire

A Georgian farmhouse which took 10 years to meticulously restore in a “labour of love” has been named House of the Year.

House on the Hill, a Gloucestershire farmhouse extension, was revealed as the winner in the final episode of the Channel 4 series Grand Designs: House of the Year on Wednesday.

The three-storey stone farmhouse was converted into a gallery space for owners David and Jenny and their art collection while the new two-storey wing is partially embedded into the hillside.

The annual award, which was established in 2013, is presented by the Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba) to the UK’s best new architect-designed house.

Riba president Simon Allford said: “This geometric design skilfully fuses together the old with the new – connecting two architectures separated by over 300 years.

riba house of the year 2021

“Intriguing and distinguished, House on the Hill is the impressive result of a 10-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.”

The restored 18th farmhouse overlooks the Wye Valley in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The owners of House on the Hill said: “Ours was a very protracted project, so the client and architect relationship had to be one of mutual confidence.

“The interplay of the house and its gardens with the wider surrounds provides an ever-changing source of pleasure.

riba house of the year 2021

“The house is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the house and the landscape complement each other. To return to the house after a spell away is to renew our admiration of the scheme.”

Previous winners of the top architectural prize include McGonigle McGrath for House Lessans in 2019 and HaysomWardMiller for Lochside House in 2018.

Architect Amin Tahahair, of the Riba House of the Year 2021 jury, said: “Some decades in the making … The jury felt Alison Brooks Architects had applied their long-researched process of subtly breaking down the rigid and spatially predictable grid with gentle inflection.”

Architect Brooks designed angles throughout the house which were intentionally skewed and undulating, to echo the topography of the adjacent meadows.

Brooks added: “It’s a real honour to win Riba House of the Year amongst an accomplished shortlist of beautiful projects.

“I see private house commissions as a rare opportunity to test new ideas in a concentrated form – they are the built equivalent of writing an essay.

“So, this accolade is a testament to my client’s belief in the value of architecture and their willingness to embrace the new.”

The four-part series of Grand Designs: House of the Year showcased seven shortlisted properties, which included a 1950s steel water tower which had been converted into a home in rural Norfolk.

riba house of the year 2021

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