Murphy House named RIBA House of the Year

Murphy House in Edinburgh (RIBA/Keith Hunter)
Murphy House in Edinburgh (RIBA/Keith Hunter)

A unique house designed and built by leading architect Richard Murphy has been named the best new house designed by an architect in the UK.

Murphy House beat off competition from six other homes across the UK to win the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) House of the Year for 2016.

Judges described the house as a “rare example” of construction of a contemporary house built on a small plot in the centre of the World Heritage Site.

The five-level house boasts a folding corner wall, sliding bookshelf ladders that glide around a secret library and a roof terrace.

(RIBA/Keith Hunter)

RIBA president Jane Duncan said Richard Murphy had overcome the challenges of planning restrictions and building in an “awkward site” to create a “stunning house” which he now lives in himself.

“Nearly a decade in the making, this house is a true labour of love for Richard,” she said.

“Part jigsaw puzzle, with its hidden and unexpected spaces, and part Wallace and Gromit with its moving pieces and disappearing walls, this is a model house of pure perfection and a worthy winner of the Riba House of the Year 2016.”

(RIBA/Keith Hunter)
(RIBA/Keith Hunter)

Mr Murphy said: “We celebrated our 25th birthday last month and to receive this award is a wonderful present with such astonishing levels of public interest.

“It’s our 21st Riba award, and takes its place in a long line of awards for buildings small and large and for whole variety of types including domestic, educational, health, arts and a new British Embassy.

“It emphasises yet again that the practice demonstrates both great versatility and consistently high quality in all its work current and past. It’s been a huge pleasure to develop a lifetime’s themes and now it gives me great pleasure to live there.”

The award, sponsored by Hiscox Home Insurance and Paint & Paper Library, replaces the previous title ‘RIBA Manser Medal’ which was created in 2001 to celebrate excellence in housing design.

House of the Year judge Philip Thorn, from Hiscox Home Insurance, said: “Murphy House was a real box of tricks with a unique, playful character.

“Although a small property, it was deceivingly large inside due to the clever use of space. Every room contained a surprise and the attention to detail was exceptional.

“The roof terrace was a real oasis of calm and I loved the long list of environmentally friendly touches.”

Share icon
Share this article: