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Assynt home in the running to be named RIBA House of the Year

December 2 2021

Assynt home in the running to be named RIBA House of the Year

A sustainably built timber home in Assynt, Western Sutherland, is in the running to be named RIBA House of the Year 2021.

House in Assynt by Mary Arnold-Forster Architects was shortlisted alongside a Devon barn conversion as the fifth and sixth contenders respectively for the accolade during last nights episode of Grand Designs: House of the Year.

Built by Carbon Dynamic the 100sq/m Highland home was described as an 'unforgettable experience' in a judges citation that praised the seamless balance of nature, setting and space.

The judges said: "The quality of natural light and the well-balanced proportions of the spaces reveal themselves along the procession from the front door to the primary living space which culminates with a breath-taking view over the mountains.

"Setting aside the innovative off-site fabrication, the transportation and construction challenges and the harsh exposure of the site, this building is an exquisite study in volumetric space and light which has produced a house which is exactly tailored to the client’s brief and is a joy to experience.

"House in Assynt is an exemplary model of sustainable and considered architecture which makes as minimal an impact on its environment as is possible and yet which leaves a lasting legacy for its occupants to enjoy."

Both homes go up against The Water Tower by Tonkin Liu; House on the Hill by Alison Brooks Architects; The Slot House by Sandy Rendel Architects with Sally Rendel and House for Theo and Oskar by Tigg + Coll Architects, which were revealed in previous episodes.

Awarded to the finest architect-designed house or extension to be built in the UK the prize winner will be revealed on Channel 4 at 21:00 on 8 December. Previous winners include Richard Murphy Architects for Murphy House in 2016.

A viewing terrace brings the outdoors in
A viewing terrace brings the outdoors in
All photography by David Barbour
All photography by David Barbour

Jaws hit the floor when jurors first set foot through the door
Jaws hit the floor when jurors first set foot through the door
No television is required
No television is required


Dum Beg
#1 Posted by Dum Beg on 2 Dec 2021 at 15:09 PM
It's a beautiful object but it is a holiday house, like Kyle House, the other Scottish nominee. I'm not sure what point the prize is trying to make but unobtainable aspiration is rife.

The budgetless approach to HOTY really grates.
Harry Honk
#2 Posted by Harry Honk on 2 Dec 2021 at 18:59 PM
Wooden-clad hipster porta-cabin of the year.

These kind of homes aren't 'homes' they are built as holiday rentals for rich Londoners.
Frank Lloyd Wrong
#3 Posted by Frank Lloyd Wrong on 2 Dec 2021 at 19:48 PM
Jeez, listen to #1Dum and #2Harry.
What an absolute embarrassment.
Stunning detail and execution in this project.
Well done Mary & Carbon Dynamic. Incredible achievement in this location.
Dum Beg
#4 Posted by Dum Beg on 2 Dec 2021 at 21:25 PM
Like all others I regularly genuflect at the altar of St Mary of Arnold Foster - the lime luminosity of her hostel overlooking Loch Neil Bhain is a delight.

My criticism is of HOTY.
Nairn's Bairn
#5 Posted by Nairn's Bairn on 3 Dec 2021 at 10:46 AM
I agree with the comments about tiny, highly expensive holiday pods not being 'homes' that most people would relate to.

This house is actually a little bigger than the stated 100m2 (120m2 internally, 160m2 externally) and has a bit more storage than your average, so is perhaps more usable than most.

Interestingly it's a 2016 job, and was certified complete back in 2018, so it's taken a while for them to go award-seeking. Drawings viewable here (Highland Council Planning Ref 16/03973/FUL)
#6 Posted by RankieLass on 6 Dec 2021 at 18:53 PM
#5 Not sure I'd call a 100m2 house a "pod" surely that's bigger than most new build semis?
nit picking
#7 Posted by nit picking on 7 Dec 2021 at 15:46 PM
Methinks the word, 'pod' is apposite for the 'deus ex machina' nature of this object in the landscape. Think, 'The Martian'.
And finally, say what you want re aesthetics etc., but the weathering of the larch is a bit on the shitty side.

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