Shock decision for House of the Year 2008

Niki May Young
Monday 23 Feb 2009

WAN jury announce two winners for WAN House of the Year Awards 2008

In a surprise decision by the WAN House of the Year 2008 jury, two houses have been chosen as winners of the prize. Sean Godsell Architects and Simon Conder Associates will both be awarded with a £1000 cheque and an etched glass award for their respective projects, Glenburn House and El Ray.

The jury, consisting of WAN Chairman Richard Coleman, Paul Monaghan of Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, Will Alsop of Archial (formerly SMC Alsop), and Eugene Asse, Principal of Asse Architects and Professor at Moscow Institute of Architecture, met on Tuesday 10 February at prestigious working club 1 Alfred Place to deliberate over 30 long-listed projects. A short list of 6 was chosen and the two eventual winners were decided upon.

Heading the jury was WAN Chairman, Richard Coleman. He explains the unconventional move to let the two projects share the title of House of the Year 2008...

"The award for House of the Year 2008 goes to two buildings which exploit exposed sites on opposite sides of the globe. One, in an extreme coastal landscape in southern United Kingdom and the other in the rich green landscape north of Melbourne, Australia. Two winners may appear feeble indecision on the part of the judges, but apart from an even numbered panel and the attraction of a good lunch, the reasons result from pure architectural skill. Both winners responded to their sites with great sensitivity. Both resolved the function of the house with alacrity, into simple forms. Both look at ease within their landscapes.

"Both resolved the function of the house with alacrity, into simple forms. Both look at ease within their landscapes."

"At Yarra (Aus), horizontal orthogonal geometry captures a moment in the rolling green landscape using mineralised rusting steel. At Dungeness (UK) free-form sensuality brings warmth to a desolate horizontal and hostile pebbled land using the living material of timber. Two sublime contrasts: A vegetated setting for a mineral object and; a mineral setting for a ‘vegetable’ object. Even the plans have remarkable relationships. Both designs include secret courtyards as well as open gestures. Each celebrates a progression of spacial experience.

"The judges felt that the ‘contrasting similarities’ of the two best houses submitted this year, would probably create a more digestible debate about design, than would a single winner. That, and the avoidance of the judges to go for a single winner meant that lunch was satisfactory digested in harmony and healthy counterpoint!"

WAN has recently announced a series of bi-monthly awards covering Education, Healthcare, Civic, Office/Commercial, Transport and Residential architecture. We are currently calling for entries to the Education award which closes this Friday 28 February! To enter and to learn more about the awards please visit our Awards Page.

See the WAN House of the Year 2008 shortlist here.

Or, see the full entrants gallery here.

Key Facts:


Want to submit your project to World Architecture News?

Contact The Team