Sometimes constraint can prove fertile ground for innovation. Such is the case with the six projects shortlisted for the Royal Institute of British Architects' (RIBA) Stephen Lawrence Prize, which highlights outstanding UK-based projects completed by mostly young architectural talent working with a relatively small budget.
Hampshire-based Exbury Egg is perhaps the most innovative of the six projects recognized by RIBA, and certainly the most novel. Designed by SPUD Studio, the egg-shaped structure serves as a place for an artist to work and occasionally sleep. It operates fully off-grid with solar power, a small charcoal stove, and a solar shower. The project was completed at a price of £40,000 (roughly US$64,000).
North London-based Ott's Yard, by vPPR Architects is a residential development that features two triangular houses constructed in an awkwardly cramped plot. The houses sport green roofs and a shared communal courtyard, and feature a playful use of triangles outside and in. Despite the unusual design and general lack of available space, the houses are certainly appealing and have already snagged a RIBA London Regional Award. The development cost a total of £693,922 ($1,120,337).
House Number 7, by Denizen Works, which made the Manser Medal Longlist, is a superb example of mixing old and new. Located on Scotland's Isle of Tiree, the project involved the renovation and extension of a ruined traditional islander cottage and now sports two modern extensions linked by a glass-roofed corridor. The cost of the build was not revealed.
London's Tree House conversion by 6a Architects, which we also touched upon in our Manser Medal Longlist coverage, drew the judge's praise for enabling a disabled person to once again navigate the majority of the main living spaces of their home independently. The price for this project is also confidential.
Gillespie Yunnie Architects made the shortlist with a staircase that links Plymouth's coastal path to the Royal William Yard; a harbor open to the public. The staircase negotiates a 12 m (39 ft) high defensive wall and cantilevers dramatically over the sea. It also sports part-concealed LED lighting that alternates between red, blue, and yellow. It cost £250,000 ($403,000).
Finally, Alex Monroe Studio is described as a "cheeky little project" by the judges due to its unusual design that features an ornate zinc facade for a London-based jewelers that's located very close to the Shard. The building was completed at a cost of £439,000 ($707,000).
RIBA will announce the winner of the awards on October 16.
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