Posts with tag: architecture

Housing Scheme Wins Turner Prize

Published On: December 12, 2015 at 11:51 am


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A regeneration project for derelict homes in Liverpool has won the Turner Prize.

The £25,000 contemporary art award was given to the London-based architecture and design group, Assemble, who revived ten properties in the area of Toxteth.

The Turner Prize’s judge, Alistair Hudson, says the collective is “part of a long tradition of art working in society”1.

However, some have questioned whether the scheme should have been eligible for the prize.

After the announcement on Channel 4, author and broadcaster Muriel Gray said: “I think it’s changed the nature of the Turner Prize, because I don’t think it is modern art. I think it’s socially responsible, beautiful architecture. But it’s a very peculiar year.”1

Assemble includes between 14-18 members, who were joined by Liverpool residents at the ceremony.

The group was a surprise inclusion in this year’s shortlist, but it now joins artists such as Damien Hirst, Grayson Perry and Steve McQueen as a winner of the prestigious prize.

All of the members are in their mid-20s and all but three studied architecture together.

Lewis Jones, a member of the group, described it as “the real antithesis of the conventional model of a Turner Prize nominee being a single genius artist”.

Assemble impressed the judges and Liverpool residents alike by working alongside locals to create unique designs for the interiors of terraced houses in the Granby Four Streets part of Toxteth.

They created mantelpieces from brick and construction waste from the streets; ceramic door handles fired in barbecues fuelled by sawdust left over from building work; and hand-decorated tiles and hand-pressed terracotta lamps.

Working with the Granby Four Streets Community Land Trust, Assemble used these fixtures and fittings to renovate ten derelict homes on Cairns Street.

Jones explains the significance: “Only a few years ago you’d go around and stuck on the front of each house would be a sign saying, ‘All objects of value have been removed from this property.’ So I guess this has been part of putting those things back in.”

The group has also proposed turning one rundown house into a glass-roofed winter garden.

Jones believes that Assemble arrived after “20 or 30 years of cynical, top-down regeneration attempts”1.

Assemble has used the profile of the Turner Prize to set up a social enterprise workshop to make and sell their home improvement objects to the general public.

In the group’s acceptance speech, member Joseph Halligan, said: “I think it’s safe to say this nomination was a surprise to all of us and the last six months have been a super surreal experience.

“But it’s allowed us this amazing opportunity to start something – Granby Workshop – which we hope will live on for a very, very, very long time. We’re really really grateful. Thank you.”1

The Turner Prize was set up in 1984. It is presented to a British artist under the age of 50 for “an outstanding exhibition or other presentation of their work”1 in the previous year.





Over Half of New Build Homes are Too Small, Says RIBA

Published On: December 6, 2015 at 12:04 pm


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More than half of the new build family homes under construction by private house builders in the UK are too small, according to the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

The average new three-bedroom house is lacking space equivalent to a bathroom, its report states, while many are missing space the size of a double bedroom, if judged against the Government’s minimum reasonable space standards launched in October.

Homes outside London are the worst affected by this “rabbit hutch” trend, found RIBA after measuring a sample of new homes on 100 developments.

Over Half of New Build Homes are Too Small, Says RIBA

Over Half of New Build Homes are Too Small, Says RIBA

The organisation identified two of the leading house builders that are the worst offenders. From a sample of new three-bed homes surveyed, RIBA found that Barratt Homes’ properties are on average 6.7 square metres smaller than minimum space standards and homes by Persimmon are typically 10.8 square metres too small – around the size of a double bedroom.

President of RIBA, Jane Duncan, says: “Tiny rabbit hutch new builds should be a thing of the past. But, sadly, our research shows that, for many people, a new home means living somewhere that’s been built well below the minimum space standard needed for a comfortable home. The Government must take action to ensure a fairer minimum space standard is applied to all new homes across the country.”1

RIBA warns that the lack of space is “depriving thousands of families of the space needed for them to live comfortably and cohesively, to eat and socialise together, to accommodate a growing family or ageing relatives, or even to store possessions including everyday necessities such as a vacuum cleaner.”

It identifies Persimmon’s Staynor Hall development in Selby, North Yorkshire. Its Hanbury three-bedroom, two-storey house has a floor space of 70.7 square metres, when the Government says the minimum space for a three-bed house for a family of five should be at least 93 square metres.

These space standards are optional for local councils to use. House builders have opposed them, claiming they reduce customer choice.

The Executive Chairman of the Home Builders Federation (HBF) – which represents firms including Barratt and Persimmon – Stewart Baseley, says: “Overwhelmingly, the people that matter – buyers of new build homes – are happy with their houses and how they are designed.

“Imposing space standards and so restricting what builders can build takes away choice from home buyers. This would not only prevent more people from buying their own home but also exacerbate the acute shortage of housing that we have experienced over several decades.”

A spokesperson for Barratt adds: “We make the best use of space and our customer recommendation score is over 90%, the only major national house builder to achieve this.”

In London, minimum space standards have been in force since 2011. As a result, new homes are significantly bigger. The average three-bed home in the capital is now 25 square metres bigger than in Yorkshire – the area with the smallest new homes.

New three-bed properties in the West Midlands are also more than seven square metres smaller than the minimum standard.

The RIBA report states: “On average, every new three-bed home in Leeds, York or Scarborough is missing out on the equivalent of a double bedroom and a family living room.”

RIBA had highlighted another issue with housing space – the conversion of office buildings into homes after the relaxation of planning rules in 2013. Last year, 20,000 of these homes were built, but the lack of regulation means they are some of the smallest available.

The report claims: “Across the country, two-person ‘apartments’ of less than 14 square metres (the size of a typical bedroom) are being delivered. Under the national space standard, the minimum floor area for any new home is 37 square metres – almost three times the size.”1


House of the Year Revealed

Published On: November 27, 2015 at 2:17 pm


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The winner of the Royal Institute of British Architects’ (RIBA) House of the Year has been named as Flint House in Buckinghamshire.

Lord Rothschild commissioned the wedge-shaped property, designed by architects Skene Catling De La Pena, for his family.

The house rises out of the ground with step-style roofing that disappears upwards.

Judges described the property as “a marvel of geological evolution and construction… a celebration of location, material and architectural design at its best”.

It is located within the grounds of Lord Rothschild’s estate at Waddesdon Manor. It was built using masonry and flint cladding.

The home is split into a main house and annexe. The RIBA says it is “an intriguing and intelligent mixed application of rooftops, terraces and recesses that combine to deliver a stunning piece of liveable, provoking, modern architecture that marries into the earthly yet beautiful countryside”.

The judges add: “This is a beautiful addition to a beautiful landscape.”1

President of the RIBA, Jane Duncan, says: “The shortlist for the RIBA’s House of the Year represents a remarkable diversity of architectural skills and outcomes.

“I am delighted that Skene Catling De La Pena’s Flint House for Lord Rothschild has won this year’s prize. Although superbly original and unique, it continues a fine tradition of RIBA award-winning houses that provide exemplars for others – architects, clients and developers. Congratulations to all involved.”1

Take a look at some of the runners up in our story on London property: /london-homes-up-for-the-house-of-the-year-prize/


London Homes Up for the House of the Year Prize

Published On: November 19, 2015 at 4:04 pm


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Five homes in London have been put on the shortlist for the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) House of the Year award. The winner will be announced on 25th November.

A quarter of the 20 finalists are in the capital, with developers keen on defying London’s tight space restrictions with imaginative homes.

The award replaces the RIBA Manser Medal, indicating how significant housing design has become.

Two of the London finalists are large, glamorous and expensive homes.

Fitzroy Park House in Hampstead, by Stanton Williams, is a gleaming, modern masterpiece. It is situated on a steep slope on the site of a 1950s home. The architects took advantage of the slope, by placing the entrance at the house’s midpoint, complete with a slim, steel bridge.

The house is built from large panes of glass, pale limestone and lots of wood, from cedar and iroko to grey-painted Accoya outside.

Inside, the floors and ceilings are made of oak. All six bedrooms have an en suite, with timber-clad balconies on a cantilevered upper floor. Although the home is extremely transparent, the 6,000 square foot property is also private, looking out onto Fitzroy Park.

Levring House is located in the Bloomsbury conservation area. Architect Jamie Fobert has created a huge, cuboid property at the end of a mews. However, by sinking it into a basement and forming a broken exterior of brick, glass and bronze, its size melds in perfectly with neighbouring houses.

It sits around a glazed atrium that goes up through the centre. The concrete home, with double-height spaces, a secret terrace and a 14-metre marble-lined pool in the basement is completely out of the ordinary.

Kew House is in another conservation area, Kew Green. Integrated into a Victorian wall, this brave pre-fabricated building was created by Piercy & Company using Corten steel, which goes rusty on purpose to create striking colours.

The home was built for a structural engineer couple, who were involved in the whole process of construction. The two steel volumes are connected by a double-height glass atrium.

The site was found near Kew Gardens by accident. It was previously a stable block. The steel features laser-cut patterns and a slide for the children straight down to the basement. The home also has lots of storage, making it perfect for the family.

Other homes highlight the creativity of architects in finding difficult spaces and maximising their potential.

Vaulted House by vPPR Architects was built on the site of a former taxi garage in Chiswick, which was encased by brick walls with 24 overlooking neighbours. All of the home’s light comes from the top, through six geometrically coved roof lights.

A covered passage through to the house makes it a secret spot. On two levels, the roof lights bring in natural light to the upper floor, highlighting certain areas within the open-plan living space, which features geometric ceilings. The lower level is where the bedrooms can be found, but a retracting flat glass roof section pours light down there too. The space below can be used as a summer courtyard or winter garden.

Courtyard House makes use of a similar wall-bound site in Hackney – a long, triangular sliver. Architects Dallas Pierce Quintero cleverly inserted a small two-bedroom home using timber, brick and glass, with four separate courtyards. The discouraging space and a tight budget were defeated by the original design.

Through an industrial gate is the first courtyard, then a studio, then a herb garden, then the main house, another courtyard at the back with French windows, and a tiny space with an olive tree. Thoughtful use of exposed joists and blue-black bricks give the property a distinct, luxurious feel.

We’ll be looking out for the winner next week, but any of these inventive homes could take the crown.



Perfect Quiz for All Property Lovers

Published On: November 14, 2015 at 2:19 pm


Categories: Property News

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Would you call yourself a property expert? Or maybe you’re just interested in British homes?

Either way, this quiz is perfect for you. With just a picture and a few details about the home – how many bedrooms it has, the style of property, where it is and its price – you’ll have to decide when the house was built.

Think it’ll be easy? Give it a go here:

Perfect Quiz for All Property Lovers

Perfect Quiz for All Property Lovers

The Grandest Gothic Homes on the Market This Halloween

Published On: October 30, 2015 at 2:07 pm


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Halloween may be a time of pumpkins and fancy dress for most, but for us, it’s the perfect opportunity to uncover some of the grandest, historic homes with spooky twists.

Many of the country’s Gothic churches and manor houses have been converted into beautiful – if not slightly mysterious – homes.

This grand architectural style has created some of the most beautiful properties on the market – we take a look.

St John’s Church, Hertfordshire – £2.35m

This church conversion has won awards for its blend of period features and 21st century technology – it includes concealed televisions, under-floor heating and a Bose sound system in the living and dining rooms.

The home is spread over three floors and the main reception area is within the original church nave, with a stunning vaulted ceiling.

Fitzhugh Grove, SW18 – £1.1m

This Brothers Grimm-style Gothic building is set on Wandsworth Common, and you can buy a three-bedroom home within the striking property for just over £1m.

The three-bed slice of the house has multiple mezzanine levels and a rooftop terrace.

Cliffe Park Hall, Chesham, Buckinghamshire – £600,000

This peculiar Grade II listed castle was built in 1811, with Gothic windows, doors and arches, Tudor-style arch heads, a stone-covered entrance and vaulted roof. Can you picture yourself entering through this arch everyday?

Hever Gardens, Kent – £800,000

A former hunting lodge, this Grade II listed home dates back to 1851. Built in the prime of the Victorian era, it boasts grand Gothic architecture, including high ceilings, a pitched roof balcony, beautiful fireplaces and a spiral staircase that leads to a turret.

Wyfold Court, Oxfordshire – £2.35m

You can buy a wing of this Grand II listed mansion for £2.35m. The large, four-bedroom apartment is set over three floors. It includes original period details, including fireplaces and a decorative drawing room ceiling.

The Old Rectory, Witham, Essex – £2.35m

This intricate, early Victorian Gothic country house has a stunning walled garden. The entrance hall has a galleried landing above and the French-polished, oak-carved staircase has elaborate balustrades and finials.

Plas yn Cwm, Denbighshire – £1,395,000

If you’re looking for something a little larger, this country home in Wales has nine bedrooms and a turret with a spire, stone-mullioned windows and beautiful stained glass. The main reception rooms have views over the park and the house has been modernised throughout.