Architecture

"Dream home on a budget" wins RIBA's House of the Year

"Dream home on a budget" wins ...
House Lessans' construction cost came in at £335,000 (roughly US$430,000)
House Lessans' construction cost came in at £335,000 (roughly US$430,000)
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House Lessans is located in County Down, Northern Ireland, in the northeast of the island
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House Lessans is located in County Down, Northern Ireland, in the northeast of the island
House Lessans features a simple and somewhat agricultural-looking exterior
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House Lessans features a simple and somewhat agricultural-looking exterior
House Lessans features a zinc roof that helps it take its place well with the nearby agricultural buildings
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House Lessans features a zinc roof that helps it take its place well with the nearby agricultural buildings
House Lessans takes its place well within the rolling landscape
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House Lessans takes its place well within the rolling landscape
House Lessans is located next to some agricultural buildings
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House Lessans is located next to some agricultural buildings
"The house is conceived as two simple elements arranged in relation to the retained and re-used barn, to create the enclosure associated with vernacular clusters, and to permit visual and physical connections to the rolling landscape to the south and west," explains McGonigle McGrath
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"The house is conceived as two simple elements arranged in relation to the retained and re-used barn, to create the enclosure associated with vernacular clusters, and to permit visual and physical connections to the rolling landscape to the south and west," explains McGonigle McGrath
House Lessans' interior measures 235 sq m (2,529 sq ft)
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House Lessans' interior measures 235 sq m (2,529 sq ft)
House Lessans' total construction cost came in at £335,000 (roughly $430,000)
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House Lessans' total construction cost came in at £335,000 (roughly $430,000)
"House Lessans demonstrates that life enhancing architecture does not have to cost the earth," says RIBA President, Alan Jones
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"House Lessans demonstrates that life enhancing architecture does not have to cost the earth," says RIBA President, Alan Jones
House Lessans' construction cost came in at £335,000 (roughly US$430,000)
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House Lessans' construction cost came in at £335,000 (roughly US$430,000)
During House Lessans' construction, one eye was kept on the budget and inexpensive materials were used whenever possible
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During House Lessans' construction, one eye was kept on the budget and inexpensive materials were used whenever possible
House Lessans' interior is divided into two wings
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House Lessans' interior is divided into two wings
House Lessans' generous glazing frames views of the beautiful countryside
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House Lessans' generous glazing frames views of the beautiful countryside
House Lessans is located on a former farmstead in County Down, Northern Ireland
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House Lessans is located on a former farmstead in County Down, Northern Ireland
House Lessans is located next to agricultural buildings that were already on the site
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House Lessans is located next to agricultural buildings that were already on the site

House Lessans, by McGonigle McGrath, has been declared this year's winner of the prestigious House of the Year award by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Described as a dream home on a budget by RIBA, it's located on a former farmstead among agricultural buildings in County Down, Northern Ireland.

House Lessans features a simple exterior, with its zinc roof helping it take its place well next to an adjacent barn. Its 235 sq m (2,529 sq ft) interior is split into two wings: one private area for bedrooms and another for communal living spaces, and its generous glazing is arranged to frame views of the beautiful rural countryside.

"The house is conceived as two simple elements arranged in relation to the retained and re-used barn, to create the enclosure associated with vernacular clusters, and to permit visual and physical connections to the rolling landscape to the south and west," explains McGonigle McGrath. "The first element, containing only bedrooms, is positioned to create the sloping arrival yard, and an enclosed space to the rear. The second living element is rotated to address the view. The entrance is positioned between these elements and allows the visitor the experience of both enclosure and landscape."

House Lessans' generous glazing frames views of the beautiful countryside
House Lessans' generous glazing frames views of the beautiful countryside

It's worth noting that budget is relative when it comes to high-profile architecture awards and we're not talking about a US$10,000 home here. House Lessans' construction cost came in at £335,000 (roughly $430,000), which is relatively inexpensive for this kind of architect-designed home.

This was achieved in part with the use of basic building materials. For example, the walls are made of concrete blocks, and fixed windows were installed as a cheaper alternative to bifold doors. The interior layout and decor were kept simple too.

"House Lessans demonstrates that life enhancing architecture does not have to cost the earth," says RIBA President Alan Jones. "Executed with incredible clarity and restraint, McGonigle McGrath have used simple and cheap materials to create a truly bespoke home that resonates with its owners and its context. Even with the tightest of budgets, House Lessans shows that a dream home, designed by a talented architect, can be a reality."

Sources: RIBA, McGonigle McGrath

2 comments
Worzel
From the outside, I preferred the barn next door, it's more authentic visually as a farm building. You can see it here; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYIZXZoT1hI This house doesn't look anything like any genuine farm building I've ever seen, and I was born and grew up in the country. Inside the high ceilings will make a great home for spiders as they thrive on ceilings that are hard to reach and clean, and there's plenty of those in the countryside. Also only one bathroom/loo to three bedrooms, is probably to going to cause a ''Q 4 the Loo'' at some point in the future. In addition, its so far from the living space....that it will require quite a race to get there if anyone is in urgent need! it would have made more sense to separate the loo from the bathroom, so if someone is lounging in the bath....... Well, it's their choice, and they'll have to live with it!
ljaques
Stunningly hideous, inside and out. The acoustics would be terribly bright, almost attacking your ears. The vast space above you would make the home unfriendly, and the lack of color would deafen you. (That's hard to do, but I'm sure this house could do it.) Affordable and $430,000 don't belong in the same sentence together. 2,500s/f doesn't belong in an affordable house. And if anyone's dream is to have a house which is gray outside and gray inside, that's got to be a retired sailor who is used to the drab "color". Am I wrong, or was there only one submission in that competition? The warped metal on the outside is hard to look at, and that white wall will become stained and dirty within a week. I'd hate to see it a couple years out, because repainting is done on even centennials, not every decade as it is on this side of the pond. This house just truly stuns me (negatively) on every level.