The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) holds its annual House of the Year competition every year and the results of this year just came in. Caring Wood is a 21st-century re-imagining of a traditional country house and has been declared Britain’s best new home from a list of 20 finalists.
Britain’s best new home may be old fashioned but it incorporates all the modern technology using sustainable energy and providing enough space for three generations of a growing family to live together. The house was completed in 2016 and is built on an 84-acre country estate in Kent, the southern part of England. It comprises a floor space of 1,400 square meters.
Caring wood is dominated by 4 tilting towers around a central courtyard very much like the traditional oast houses that were used for beer production in the past. The architects James Macdonald Wright and Niall Maxwell have tried to keep it as traditional as possible and used local materials like handmade peg clay tiles and coppiced chestnut cladding.
It might look like a mansion at the first glance from outside but it houses a very cozy interior and the architects have made all efforts to ensure the family retains the sense of separation and privacy even in such close proximity.
“The lively and sculptural house, despite its scale and grandeur, manages to also feel pleasingly domestic and intimate,” says RIBA juror Sandra Coppin. “Caring Wood invokes a strong sense of place and time through the skillful use of materiality, form-making, and craft. The architects have woven together the strands that make a really good building: form, materiality, function, and poetics to produce an ambitious, highly crafted and impressive home.”
The judges from RIBA noted the fact that the landscape which is already a beauty will look even more amazing in the years to come when given the chance to grow properly. Britain’s best new home for 2017 uses the towers to promote stack ventilation, the way a chimney works to cool the interior of the house.
Ground source heat pumps are also installed to provide efficient heating in the winters. Apart from the solar panel arrays, Caring Wood also has an electric car-charging port, keeping in mind the future and how electric vehicles are becoming a norm.