Outhouse wins 2016 Manser Medal
The Medal was conceived in 2001 to encourage innovation in house design, to show how social and technological aspirations can be met by intelligent design. The Medal winning designs over the years presented within the archive are exemplars to inspire the wider house-building industry.
“To sustain the Manser Medal’s reputation and to retain the interest of architects, the public and the press, the Medal needs something to distinguish it from the many other housing awards. The buildings we consider are a cut above the rest, in that each has already won an RIBA Award. But the Manser judges are looking for extra qualities that match the architects’ intellectual aspirations.
Historically, architecture has always responded to society’s needs, coming up with new methods and materials that exploit the latest technical developments, all within the compass of reasonable expenditure. The judges are looking for an inspirational step forward, perhaps an experimental approach, certainly an unequivocal 21st-century solution for 21st-century occupants.
Our aim is to influence both the house-building companies and the general public in the direction of better design. There is huge public interest in houses; the amount of media coverage is evidence of that. The Manser Medal could potentially have as big as following as the Stirling Prize and so expose the talent of younger practitioners, whose abilities are grossly under-used. Many successful architects begin their careers with domestic projects.”Michael Manser CBE, PPRIBA - 2001
The jury enjoyed its multi-facetted appeal: a classic modernist construct with a timeless quality but robust and capable of being inhabited and evolving; an energy efficient exemplar of controlled environment but at one with the landscape and allowing changing weather and light conditions to be experienced through diversity of windows, rooflights and internal courtyards; apparently a house embedded in the hillside with a single long façade opening to the striking view, but whose soul equally derives from the layering of views through courtyards of differing characters and potential functions. The layout and material quality had rigour but was relaxed, the effect was both relaxing and intensely stimulating.
The Manser Medal 2016
Those nominated to the short-list were:
Gasworks – Chris Dyson Architects
An eloquent composition in the landscape, complementing the setting of the original including the retention of a substantial TPO oak tree.
The judges appreciated the sympathetic and innovative use of materials, notably Corten steel in panel and corrugated form, reviving a rural vernacular and industrial aesthetic entirely appropriate to its setting.
Folds – Bureau de Change Architects
A beautiful example of a fresh approach to delivering the standard ‘London home extension’ brief, the architecture showed a sophisticated use of natural light, careful attention to views out and an assured and accomplished approach to spatial reinvention and the use of materials and detailing. The project delivered on calm and elegance whilst incorporating delightfully unique features.
North Vat – Rodic Davison Architects
Satisfying as an object in the landscape, the house sits comfortably in the unique historical catalogue of sheds and shapes on Dungeness beach. Using a simple palette of materials, it delivers an inhabitable sculpture – with a masterful framing of views and delivery of quality and levels of light in the interior. The judges appreciated that the interior is entirely responsive to the movement of the sun around the building, with a constantly changing kinetic quality achieved through the careful disposition of windows, rooflights, and glazed links.
Ansty Plum House and Studio – Coppin Dockray
This largely forgotten Mid Century modern gem from the Arup/Dowson stable was had been changed and extended subsequently most significantly by another modernist Peter Smithson. Now it has been lovingly restored, brought into the 21st Century and made into home which is also a historical jewel recoding the history of the evolving design. A rational, pragmatic and thoughtful approach to the project has been demonstrated by the architects who clearly also have a real empathy with and passion for the original design.
142 South Street – Sandy Rendel Architects
The bold and simple palette of materials used to make and clad this house is strikingly successful when viewed across the meadows and river to the South. The Corten steel screening to the upper façade also works as a tactile screen to the ventilation openings when viewed from inside the bedrooms at first floor. The simple layout of the house delivers a magnificent living and entertaining area downstairs with open views framed by the textural rough shuttered concrete columns – turning its back on the main road on the approach side, the house succeeds through its ambition and singular vision on an awkward site.