The UK’s House Of The Year Has Been Revealed

By Charlie Colville

7 months ago

And it's in London


What does the future of home design look like? If you’re imagining sleek metal and flying appliances, think again. According to the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), homes are set to become greener and embrace nature both inside and out – and that’s exactly what you can find in ‘Green House’, the winner of the RIBA House of the Year 2023 award. Read on to take a look inside.

‘Green House’ Wins RIBA House Of The Year 2023

This week, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) announced the winner of its annual House of the Year award, whittling the competition down from a shortlist of six one-off house designs in the UK. The winner this year is Green House, a reimagined terraced house in Tottenham, London created by Hayhurst & Co.

House exterior

(c) Killian O’Sullivan

Replacing an existing property down an alleyway in a confined urban lot, Green House is very much a ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ design. While on the outside you’ll find dark polycarbonate panels and dense rows of plants, the inside can only be described as an airy suntrap – with plenty of space for a family to reside. Downstairs, there’s an open, flowing design spanning the kitchen, dining and living areas, which can be subdivided by floor-to-ceiling sweeping curtains, with green-painted steel stars leading upstairs to the bedrooms and bathrooms.

Speaking on the design, Hayhurst & Co. owners Tom and Amandine said they wanted to create a low-cost, functional five-bedroom home where you could grow a family while having access to plenty of space and nature.

Green and airy house

(c) Killian O’Sullivan

Dubbed a ‘domestic greenhouse’ by RIBA’s jury, the space was designed to optimise natural light (largely thanks to the atrium’s rooflights) and nurture the many plants living under the same roof. The natural world resides both inside and outside the home, with double-aspect views to the gardens and a roof terrace blurring the boundaries between the two settings and creating harmonious cohabitation.

Other biophilic design features include the atrium, which is comprised of bamboo planting and exterior sliding polycarbonate screens in a nod to the market gardens that were once on the same plot of land – and also offer functional use in that they can be moved and adjusted to create different levels of privacy and ventilation.

House exterior

(c) Killian O’Sullivan

Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) walls, reclaimed concrete blocks and recycled cork rubber flooring were also used to maximise the energy efficiency of the property, while the central block form helps to reduce operational energy use. The design also seeks to reduce energy demand with air-source heat pumps and solar panels.

Established in 2013 (and now celebrating its 10th year), the RIBA House of the Year award celebrates the best new house or house extension designed by an architect in the UK. Some previous winners include David Kohn Architects for The Red House (2022), Alison Brooks Architects for House on the Hill (2021) and McGonigle McGrath for House Lessans (2019).

How Was The Award Judged?

A jury comprised of the members of the Royal Institute of British Architects came together to create the shortlist and pick a winner for House of the Year. This year’s jury included Dido Milne, Director of CSK Architects, Bev Dockray, co-founder of Coppin Dockray Architects, Jessam Al-Jawad, Director and co-founder of multi-disciplinary architecture studio Al-Jawad Pike and Albert Hill, co-founder of The Modern House and Inigo.

Staircase and curtain with children

(c) Killian O’Sullivan

‘Green House, affectionately known as the “Tottenham Riad”, is a true oasis within the city. It is both airy and cosy, bold yet respectful of its neighbours,’ said jury chair Dido Milne. ‘Your eye is simultaneously drawn upwards to open sky and down and out across the living room to verdant greenery.

‘The close architect and client relationship, with a joint desire to deliver a truly sustainable home, is evident in all of the design decisions and detailing,’ Dido continued. ‘On a confined urban site, the house was delivered to a tight budget with an economy of means – and it remains richer for it. Nowhere do you feel the site or budget was restricted. It feels both luxurious, homely, deeply private and relaxing. It’s an extraordinary ordinary house and a remarkable collaboration.’

Who Was On The RIBA House Of The Year Shortlist?

While Green House was crowned the winner this year, it had some tough competition from five other shortlisted houses. See the full shortlist below:

  • Cowshed by David Kohn Architects
  • Hundred Acre Wood by Denizen Works
  • Made of Sand by Studio Weave
  • Middle Avenue by Rural Office
  • Saltmarsh House by Niall McLaughlin Architects
  • Green House by Hayhurst & Co.

Images courtesy of RIBA (c) Killian O’Sullivan