Aidan McGrath

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has named House Lessans, designed by the Belfast, Northern Ireland-based firm McGonigle McGrath, as its 2019 RIBA House of the Year. Established in 2001 as the Manser Medal and then renamed in 2015, RIBA’s annual House of the Year award recognizes “the best new house or house extension designed by an architect in the United Kingdom,” according to a RIBA press release.

Aidan McGrath
Aidan McGrath

McGonigle McGrath designed this year’s winning project for a former farmstead in County Down, Northern Ireland, creating a complex of agricultural buildings with pitched zinc roofs. With a floor area of 2,530 square feet, House Lessans features double-height living spaces and three bedrooms that offer views of the countryside. By using standard building materials, simple design, and “cost-saving hacks,” according to the same release, McGonigle McGrath completed the project for £1,425 per square meter, or £335,000 ($431,380).

““House Lessans demonstrates that life enhancing architecture does not have to cost the earth,” said RIBA president Alan Jones in the same release. “Executed with incredible clarity and restraint, McGonigle McGrath have used simple and cheap materials to create a truly bespoke home that resonates with its owners and its context. Even with the tightest of budgets, House Lessans shows that a dream home, designed by a talented architect, can be a reality.”

Aidan McGrath
Aidan McGrath