7 RIBA House of the Year 2018 builds in detail

Take inspiration for your own self-build or renovation project from the extraordinary homes longlisted this year's RIBA House of the Year award.

By Jenny Mcfarlane | 7 November 2018

From a timber and stone highland retreat to a modernist country villa, take inspiration for your own self-build project from this year’s wide-ranging RIBA House of the Year award nominees.

S shaped country villa longlisted for the RIBA House of the Year 2018 -tv-houses-granddesignsmagazine.com

Image: Tom Soar

The judges of this year’s RIBA House of the Year Award had a longlist of 20 showstopping buildings, situated all around the country, to consider before they can decide which of them can be awarded the title of best residential building by an architect based in Britain.

RIBA have had the hard task of whittling them down to only 4 and the winner Lochside House by HaysomWardMiller Architects was announced as RIBA House of the Year 2018 in the finale of Channel 4’s four-part television series last night. We’ve rounded up some of the top builds who were in the running for this year’s coveted prize, including the winner.

The winner: Lochside House

Scottish highland retreat longlisted for the RIBA House of the Year 2018 -tv-houses-granddesignsmagazine.com

Image: Richard Fraser

When the owner of this timber and stone house in the Scottish Highlands first saw the site on which the house now stands, she was certain it needed something more considered than the ‘traditional’ home that was allowed for in the planning consent that came with the land.

‘We both had the same love of materials and wanted to do something that would become part of that beautiful landscape,’ recalls the owner’s chosen architect, Tom Miller, of Haysom Ward Miller. ‘The planning officers understood this, and recognised that the house we proposed to build would actually have less impact on the landscape than a more traditional alternative.’

Obtaining planning was straightforward but the technical design of the house, and the build itself, were to prove much more challenging. The owner wanted to live and work in the house, and to have big views of the landscape; she was also keen that the house could run autonomously for part of the year, with minimal energy use.

The architect’s solution was an energy-efficient modular design of three interconnected, pitched-roofed, highly insulated buildings; each one can be closed off and left unheated without affecting the others that are still in use.

The house is miles from the nearest road so the structural insulated panelled (SIP) walls were prefabricated to keep transport costs to a minimum. The windows are triple glazed, and the roof is integrated with a combined solar, thermal and PV panel system that is connected to a battery array and a thermal store. With a wood-fired stove-boiler and generator as additional heat systems, and an MVHR system to keep the internal air fresh, the house is comfortable all year round.

‘We all knew the build would be challenging, so we took our time in finding a contractor who we felt would be able to cope with the logistical difficulties, hardy enough to work in the Atlantic and hillside winds that buffet the site, and capable of doing the high-quality work we required, for the full length of the project,’ Miller says.

Outside, the house is clad with vertically hung larch boards that were charred to give them a darker tone, and with Scottish stone, while the flat roof that links the three buildings is seeded with varieties of the plants that can be found growing on the rocks along the nearby shoreline. The natural theme continues inside the house, with

Scandinavian-style furnishings and rooms decorated in a subtle colour palette inspired by local beach-found objects.

The project took six years to complete but the end result is a house that is ‘a respectful and natural part of its unique setting within an ancient landscape’, says the architect, winning them the coveted prize of House of the Year 2018.