Best Self-Build Architect or Designer 2014

The Build It Awards judges have had their say, now it's time for you to cast your vote for the best architect or designer of 2014
by Build It
17th September 2014

Voting is now open for the Best Self-Build Architect or Designer category of this year’s Build It Awards – and we want your help to crown a winner!

Build It’s panel of judges has created a shortlist of six homes from the entries to this category, and have already voted for their favourite scheme. Now’s your chance to let us know which project you admire, and which architect you feel has worked the hardest to create an attractive home that meets the client’s needs and suits its surroundings. The judges’ votes will count for 50% of the overall score, and your votes will make up the remainder.

Voting for this year’s awards has now closed – the winner will be announced at the Build It Awards ceremony on 23rd October.

You can also keep us posted about what you think on Twitter using the hashtag #builditawards

Take a look at this year’s amazing shortlist (click on the pics for larger versions):

Allan Corfield Architects – Amor House

 Allan Corfield Architects – Amor House Galleried LandingAllan Corfield Architects – Amor House Galleried LandingAllan Corfield Architects – Amor House Glazed Gable

Allan Corfield Architects for Amor House

Overview: The client required a five bedroom, 1.5 storey home that would have a quick on site turnaround, be energy efficient and feature significant glazing to make the most of the surrounding views. The home was wind and watertight in two weeks, had an airtightness test of 0.8ach and an EPC rating of 96% (A). From the outset the architect worked with the client to create three design options from the initial brief. These were presented via their 3D modelling software so the client could ‘walk around’ the house prior to committing.

A key element of the project is the central atrium – a truly light-filled space – which all of the main rooms are accessed from. On the first floor the walkways are set out from a glazed screen, and balconies are complemented by the floating staircase. The use of a structural insulated panel (SIPs) construction was suggested by the architect, who had successfully completed a number of projects with SIPS Industries, and meets Passivhaus standards for U-values.

What the client said: “As I was interested in building the best value for money eco home available, I interviewed a number of recommended architects prior to starting my project. I chose Allan Corfield Architects (ACA) from various recommendations and because of their passion for my project. My new abode is energy efficient, cost effective to run and a delightful place to call home. This is in no small part down to the working relationship we formed with ACA Architects and the support and information they provided throughout the design and build process.”

What the judges said: “As the architect knew what build system to use from the outset, the house has achieved wonderful levels of efficiency even though there is a large amount of glazing. The finish is sleek and attractive and seems to directly correlate with the client’s wishes. The firm has also shown that it excels in terms of client relationship building.”

English Brothers - Clinker House

English Brothers - Clinker House GardenEnglish Brothers - Clinker House Glazing & WindowsEnglish Brothers - Clinker House Glazing & Windows

English Brothers for Clinker House

Overview: The Hall-Smiths’ plot came with a number of strict planning stipulations – including no windows or openings of any kind on the north elevation, no overlooking to the south elevation and a restricted ridge height. The brief for this project was to provide the client with a traditional-style dwelling that sat well within the north Norfolk coastal countryside – providing substantial yet cosy, efficient and bright accommodation. English Brothers came up with a creative design to combat the issues, including a roof with low-level windows from the first floor and large roof windows higher up (which provided light, but could not be looked out of).

One of this self-build home’s key features is the ‘internal’ balcony, which was achieved by shrinking the internal floor area of the master bedroom, but leaving the roof and external walls as-was, effectively maintaining the silhouette of a traditional gable end but creating a very usable space for the owners. Oak cladding was specified in keeping with the vernacular, along with steel rainwater goods to blend in with the oak once it began to silver over time.

What the clients said: “The service that English Brothers gave us has far exceeded anything we had dared to hope for, and we are very grateful for that, and for the guidance that helped us to appoint a decent and approachable team of tradesmen to realise the build. They created a stunning design which directly responds to our requirements.”

What the judges said: “English Brothers has responded well both to the client’s brief and to the restrictions imposed by the planning department. This home, although fairly contemporary in design, suits the vernacular perfectly thanks to the carefully selected palette of materials. A particular highlight of the design is the clever internal balcony.”

JMP Architects - Silverdale

JMP Architects – Silverdale Living Room and EntranceJMP Architects – Silverdale Full Height Glazing and StaircaseAllan Corfield Architects – Amor House Glazed Gable

JMP Architects for Silverdale

Overview: This project is a replacement three bedroom dwelling with integral double garage in Yealand, Lancashire. The architect decided to use the footprint of the previous building to minimise the impact of the new house on the site. The first floor overhangs the ground floor, giving the building its character. Full height corner glazing connects the three bedrooms and study to the landscape at first floor level and also makes the building feel ‘light’, while giving it a strong presence. The home is finished in traditional materials – white render and timber walls with a natural slate roof, which is appropriate for its setting. To unify the garage element within the house the coping of the garage continues seamlessly into the first floor overhang.

The internal spaces have been planned to visually link the inside with the outside – slate tiles extend out through the hall to the garden to further connect the zones. The living spaces are divided by a double-sided woodburning stove and recessed shelving to accommodate storage. Read the full story of Silverdale

What the client said: “Building our home was such a pleasurable experience under the expertise and guidance of JMP Architects. Their professional approach, patience, understanding and good listening skills has ensured a high quality contemporary build that is truly individual. The concept of simplicity, coupled with clean lines, has created a calm space full of light. It is a joy to live in.”

What the judges said: “The house may be simple in form, but the detailing gives it bags of character. The property shows a fantastic link between the indoor and outdoor spaces, which gives the home a serene and natural feel. The highlight of the build is the overhang and glazed corner, which is an extremely attractive element.”

LA Hally - Hiltingbury

LA Hally – Hiltingbury BedroomLA Hally – Hiltingbury Rough Rendered BrickLA Hally – Hiltingbury Evening Shot

LA Hally Architect for Hiltingbury

Overview: This property, nestled deep in greenery, is in an area of Hiltingbury consisting mainly of large, Arts & Crafts-style detached properties. This building, however, was out of scale and completely out of character with its surroundings. Hiltingbury is a Special Policy area which is additionally covered by a blanket Tree Preservation Order. The house was a modest but sprawling 1940’s bungalow in a poor state of repair. It had a charm the clients loved, but was too small for their large family.

The architect designed a new build two-storey bedroom wing, incorporating all the required additional accommodation whilst minimizing the impact on the structure of the existing property. The new master bedroom includes a glass balcony, overlooking the private courtyard to the front of the property, and a dressing room. A vaulted double-height study space overlooks the hall, which provides a cathedral-esque quality due to its 4m tall opaque glazed window, letting light flood in whilst preserving privacy. The new extension was built in rough, painted brick with a mix of horizontal and vertical board-on-board cedar cladding to the upper level.

What the client said: “We appointed LA Hally Architect to help us transform our bungalow into a modern home with a contemporary two-storey extension. The nature of the plot made designing the extension quite a challenge but the end result has exceeded our expectations. Importantly, we felt we were always listened to when we had suggestions or concerns. LA Hally provided a great level of service at all stages from initial design and planning application through to contract-managing the build.”

What the judges said: “The architect has listened to the client’s requirements and added a significant new wing to their much-loved family home. The impressive new structure is unique and adds an interesting element to the existing property – which has also been modernised and given a new finish so that the overall structure is balanced.”

lapd architects – The Crow’s Nest

lapd architects – The Crow’s Nest Garage & Gable Glazinglapd architects – The Crow’s Nest Living Room & Bi-Fold Doorslapd architects – The Crow’s Nest Brick Columns

lapd architects for The Crow’s Nest

Overview: The Jarvis’s site is within a conservation area and had a number of planning issues that needed to be carefully negotiated. The brief required a new detached dwelling that took advantage of views over the surrounding countryside and would also be a landmark building demonstrating what could be achieved by going down the self-build route in a sensitive location. The architect has provided a house that is bespoke to the client’s needs and is both energy efficient and low maintenance.

The design maximises space on a small garden plot, and used the budget efficiently. The home features a number of interesting features both internally and externally, including the clever brickwork column that supports the overhang. LAPD managed the design and construction packages efficiently and kept the client informed along the way – there was a clear programme and regular communication.

What the client said: “We are very pleased with the way the architect designed what we wanted and the final building is far better than we ever imagined. It turns people’s heads and they stop outside the house and remark how nice it is in the village, especially as it is in a conservation area. It is a breath of fresh air and becoming a landmark.”

What the judges said: “This shows what can be achieved on a tight plot if you have an innovative and like-minded architect on board. The design is not overbearing yet is distinctive and suits the client’s taste and the location. The architect obviously showed a lot of support and understanding on the scheme.”

Orme Architecture – Milton Lane

Orme Architecture – Milton Lane FacadeOrme Architecture – Milton Lane Dining Room & Bi-Fold DoorsOrme Architecture – Milton Lane Bi-Folds & Patio

Orme Architecture for Milton Lane

Overview: This unique and ultra contemporary home was created to make the most of the surrounding wooded garden and unprecedented views over the city of Wells and the Mendip Hills in Somerset. The property is arranged over four floors, all purposefully orientated to thread between the existing trees whilst maximising solar gain from southerly daylight.

The construction is a hybrid of masonry substructure, steel superstructure and timber frame external walls, each element chosen for its structural and economic efficiency. All the floors, walls and roofs achieve an impressive thermal value, which far exceeds current Building Regulation and reflects Passivhaus standards. Although the concept of the house was agreed relatively quickly, it took a further three years to gain planning permission. The client and architected worked tirelessly to get project off the ground.

What the client said: “We appointed Orme because of their enthusiasm, fresh thinking, experience and innovation in contemporary design. The house was primarily designed with the building plot’s sloping topography and our budget in mind, and we’re delighted with it. The design of our house was very contentious when first submitted for planning consent, to the point it took us two attempts to convince our local authority to grant consent!”

What the judges said: “This house responds beautifully to the surrounding landscape and the plot – in addition to the client’s requirements. The design is of its time, whist respecting the local vernacular through the mixed palette of materials and clean elegant lines.”

Voting for the Build It Awards 2014 has now closed.

The winner of the Best Self-Build Architect or Designer 2014, sponsored by Kloeber, will be announced at the Build It Awards ceremony in October.

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