a contemporary vision of the english country house has been crowned RIBA house of the year 2017. the title is awarded annually to the best new residence or extension designed by an architect in the UK. completed by james macdonald wright and niall maxwell, the dwelling is located in the english county of kent and references the region’s agricultural buildings, used for kilning hops. titled ‘caring wood’, the house comprises four distinct towers that emerge above the landscape at different angles.


the design is a contemporary vision of the english country house
image by james morris (also main image)

 

 

in developing the home, james macdonald wright and niall maxwell sourced local materials, including handmade peg clay tiles, locally quarried ragstone, and coppiced chestnut cladding. the property was designed for three generations of the same family and contains a range of communal and private spaces. ‘it’s a house built for multiple generations of a growing family and allows the owner’s daughters, their husbands and their children to reside under one roof — cleverly accommodating their desire to be together and their desire to be apart,’ says RIBA president ben derbyshire.


the project was completed by architects james macdonald wright and niall maxwell
image by james morris

 

 

‘sustainability in architectural practice is expected, but I believe regionalism, craft and the interpretation of the vernacular are also important,’ explains james macdonald wright. ‘I’m delighted that, in caring wood, they are being recognized. this project proves that, by joining together, small practices can do big things,’ continues the architect, who worked on the project with niall maxwell of wales-based practice rural office for architecture.


the dwelling is located in the english county of kent
image by james morris

 

 

‘collaboration with many talented people enabled us to realize the design for this contemporary country house,’ adds maxwell. ‘this demonstrates what small practices are capable of when given the chance by enlightened clients.’ last year’s RIBA house of the year was a quirky dwelling in edinburgh designed by architect richard murphy. see the project on designboom here.


the design references the region’s agricultural buildings
image by heiko prigge


local materials include handmade peg clay tiles
image by heiko prigge


the property was designed for three generations of the same family
image by james morris


the residence contains a range of communal and private spaces
image by james morris


locally quarried ragstone and coppiced chestnut cladding have also been used
image by james morris


the RIBA house of the year is awarded annually to the best new residence in the UK
image by james morris


the house comprises four distinct towers that emerge above the landscape
image by james morris


the project is titled ‘caring wood’
image by james morris


the dwelling takes on a distinctive glow at dusk
image by james morris

 

 

project info:

 

architect practice: macdonald wright architects
additional architect practice: rural office for architecture
date of completion: october 2016
project city/town: leeds, maidstone
internal area: 1,443 sqm
contractor company: cardy construction limited

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