Home Improvements

by Hannah Fenton

November 22, 2017

Peter Womersley Modernist house, Valley Spring

Built in the Sixties and nestled in a wooden dell, Valley Spring is a Modernist masterpiece with the majority of its original features intact. South…

Whimsical Edinburgh new-build is crowned the winner of the RIBA House of the Year 2016.

murphy house is revealed as riba house of the year

Congratulations to Richard Murphy Architects, who scooped the top prize in this year’s RIBA Hourse of the Year.

The five-level Murphy house has a footprint of only 60 sqm, but includes three bedrooms, a living/dining/kitchen area, a study, basement storage, garage and roof terrace.

It cleverly demonstrates how contemporary design can play a role in historic places, in this case creating a visual bookend to the junction of two streets in the heart of a conservative sandstone terraced street in Edinburgh’s UNESCO-listed New Town.

‘The Murphy House is this year’s best example of how to overcome challenging constraints to build a stunning house,’ says Jane Duncan, president of RIBA. ‘Nearly a decade in the making, this house is a true labour of love for Richard. Part jigsaw puzzle, with its hidden and unexpected spaces, and part Wallace and Gromit with its moving pieces and disappearing walls, this is a model house of pure perfection and a worthy winner of the RIBA House of the Year 2016.’

Built on an awkward plot at the end of a terrace, Richard Murphy has designed for himself a deeply personal space filled with tricks, surprises and references to his own design heroes.

From a hidden bath in the master bedroom and a folding corner wall, to sliding bookshelf ladders that glide around the subterranean library, this house is filled with a unique and spirited charm.

‘We celebrated our 25th birthday last month, and to receive this award is a wonderful present,’ says designer Richard Murphy. ‘It’s been a huge pleasure to develop a lifetime’s themes and now it gives me great pleasure to live there.’

The RIBA House of the Year is sponsored by Hiscox Home Insurance and Paint and Paper Library.

Image: Keith Hunter

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