Riba House of Year award won by ‘Wallace and Gromit’ home

Murphy HouseImage copyright
Keith Hunter

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Riba said the five-level Murphy House was filled with tricks and surprises

A “whimsical” terraced home in Edinburgh has been named the Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba) House of the Year.

The five-level house, by Richard Murphy Architects, was a “deeply personal space” filled with tricks and surprises, Riba said.

It fills an end-of-terrace plot in Edinburgh’s New Town.

Riba said Murphy House was “part Wallace and Gromit”, with moving pieces and disappearing walls.

It includes a hidden bath in the master bedroom, sliding bookshelf ladders in a subterranean library and a folding corner wall.

Image copyright
Keith Hunter

Riba president Jane Duncan said Richard Murphy had overcome the challenges of planning restrictions and building in an “awkward site” to create a “stunning house” which now lives in himself.

“Nearly a decade in the making, this house is a true labour of love for Richard,” she said.

“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.”

The house was inspired by the work of 20th century Italian architect Carlo Scarpa. It was picked as the winner from a shortlist of seven homes from across the UK.


Riba House of the Year 2016 shortlist

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Keith Hunter

  • Ansty Plum – Wiltshire – by Coppin Dockray
  • Covert House – Clapham, south London – by DSDHA
  • Garden House – Hackney, east London – by Hayhurst and Co
  • Modern Mews – central London – by Coffey Architects
  • Murphy House – New Town, Edinburgh – by Richard Murphy Architects
  • Outhouse – Forest of Dean – by Loyn & Co Architects
  • Tin House – west London – by Henning Stummel Architects

Mr Murphy said: “We celebrated our 25th birthday last month and to receive this award is a wonderful present with such astonishing levels of public interest.

“It’s our 21st Riba award, and takes its place in a long line of awards for buildings small and large and for whole variety of types including domestic, educational, health, arts and a new British Embassy.

“It emphasises yet again that the practice demonstrates both great versatility and consistently high quality in all its work current and past. It’s been a huge pleasure to develop a lifetime’s themes and now it gives me great pleasure to live there.”

Image copyright
Keith Hunter

Image copyright
Keith Hunter

The RIBA House of the Year award – previously known as the Manser Medal – was created in 2001 to celebrate excellence in housing design.

Last year’s winner was Flint House in Buckinghamshire.

House of the Year judge Philip Thorn, from Hiscox Home Insurance, said: “Murphy House was a real box of tricks with a unique, playful character.

“Although a small property, it was deceivingly large inside due to the clever use of space. Every room contained a surprise and the attention to detail was exceptional.

“The roof terrace was a real oasis of calm and I loved the long list of environmentally friendly touches.”

Riba House of Year award won by ‘Wallace and Gromit’ home

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