In its 14th year running, The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has issued its House of the Year Award. The 2015 winner is the Flint House, located on Waddesdon Manor in southeast England. Designed by London-based firm Skene Catling De La Peña, the construction consists of two parts: The site accommodates a primary residence and a smaller, detached structure that was designed to be an asymmetrical version of the main building. Both are triangular in form and are oriented north to south.
From a distance, the constructions' sharp angles make them appear as if they are jutting out of the earth, echoing the surrounding hilly landscape. Their gradual roof incline is supported by a base of locally sourced materials, with larger portions of flint embedded in black lime mortar at the base of the structure, gradually transitioning from black to gray and then to white; a final layer of the soft, porous chalk tops off the wall. The project team sourced these natural materials fromthe lush fields on site, which the Rothschilds, a prominent English banking family, has owned since 1847.
The angled incline is characterized by a set of stairs that create a ridged, horizontal edge. Glass and metal form the unassuming rectangular windows inset in the sedimentary façade.
Three interruptions punctuate the site. The first is a road, which circles the property and abruptly cuts into the lowest-habitable portion of the larger of the two buildings. The second is a small stream that flows beneath the larger building between the study and sitting room. Finally, a garden links the sitting room to the outdoors by rising and folding to form a makeshift bench.
This year's jury described the project as “a marvel of geological evolution and construction,” according to RIBA's site.