The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced the winner of its prestigious 2016 House of the Year competition.

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The RIBA House of the Year is awarded to the best new house designed by an architect in the UK. The judges decides that the winner of 2016 is Murphy House, by Richard Murphy Architects.

Richard Murphy's own house in Edinburgh is a delightful essay in architecture. It speaks to its context with direct references to the Georgian terraces, and with a clever change of scale that is at once deferential and powerfully striking in the street. The home measures 165 sq m (1,776 sq ft) of floorspace, spread over five floors, and is located on a cramped 11 x 6 m (36 x 19 ft) plot in UNESCO-listed New Town. House is full of details and mechanics, including a hidden bath in the master bedroom, folding walls, sliding bookshelf ladders and operable clerestory panels.

The home also features a solar array on the roof that reduces its grid-based electricity requirements. A high-tech air-circulation system ensures fresh airflow throughout, and rainwater is collected and used for the toilet and the sprinkler system. Heat from a log-burning stove is also piped to pre-heat hot water.

Full of references to his architectural heroes the building could be read as homage to architectural history. Murphy has described the house as 'a quarter Soane, a quarter Scarpa, a quarter eco-house and a quarter Wallace and Gromit, the latter referring to the various ingenious devices in the house. In fact the house is beautifully composed and uniquely his own.'

Dec. 21, 2016 Living photo: Keith Hunter

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