This year's winner of the prestigious RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) House of the Year competition has been announced. Haysom Ward Miller Architects got the nod for Lochside House, an energy-efficient off-grid home that takes its place very well among the rugged landscape in Scotland's West Highlands.

Lochside House is finished in Scottish larch, which was charred using the Japanese shou sugi ban technique to improve its durability. Prefabricated SIPs (structurally insulated panels) were also used. The architects did a superb job making the home blend in with the landscape and it looks like it truly belongs on the lakeside site.

The home has a total floorspace of 195 sq m (2,098 sq ft), spread over three primary buildings, plus another nearby that serves as an artist studio. This design reflects the traditional agricultural buildings that are scattered throughout the area and offers the benefit that unused sections can be left unheated. One of the buildings is topped by a flat green roof.

The interior is finished in oiled timber and rough-textured plaster, and consists of relatively modest-sized rooms that have generous glazing to put the focus on the beautiful landscape. It includes three bedrooms, a living room, study, two bathrooms, a kitchen and a dining room.

Owing to its remote location, Lochside House runs completely off-the-grid. All energy derives from a solar power system and water is pumped from a borehole. The home also has its own sewage treatment system.

"Lochside House is truly breath-taking," says RIBA President Ben Derbyshire. "By containing its scale, sensitively positioning the crop of buildings on a promontory around established trees, and making use of local materials, Haysom Ward Miller have created a home which perfectly responds to its exposed, unique location. With a highly sustainable, off-grid approach to energy and water, it leaves the surrounding environment as undisturbed as possible. Every detail has been fine-tuned to create an exceptional home and studio that meets the needs and wishes of its artist owner. Lochside House is the perfect addition to this dream landscape."

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