WAN Houses of the Year Awards 2012
Every year World Architecture News (WAN) run a series of major international competitions to celebrate and expose the latest and most innovative design from all corners of the globe. The winner of the 2012 WAN House of the Year Award has just been announced, and with all the inspiring design we see today, there is no surprise that it was an incredibly difficult decision.
The WAN House of the Year Award celebrates the most innovative and creative solutions for single-family houses, which are all judged on their originality, innovation, sustainability, context, and most importantly their ability to fulfill the client brief.
The winning entry for the 2012 award, came from Sforza Seilern Architects, for their Gota Residence in East Africa. The home is set among the wild and harsh African landscape, perched atop a dramatic granite cliff. Inevitably, the natural beauty of the area and breathtaking views dictated and inspired all elements of the winning design. Large cantilevered roofs protrude from the dramatic granite cliff, creating a spacious and gutsy design. Almost all materials used throughout were sourced locally on site making for an incredibly harmonious design that was responsive to the immediate surroundings. This, combined with the originality and attention to detail, were the true winning elements of the design.
While the Gota Residence was a deserving winner, we were also inspired by many of the shortlisted entries. One of which is by New Zealand firm Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects for their Hut on Sleds. The home lies on the coast of New Zealand’s Coromandel Peninsula surrounded by sandy white beaches and much like the Gota Residence the design is incredibly responsive to the surrounding landscape. The structure sits upon two wooden sleds that believe it or not, allow it to be moved with the tides. Timber has been used both inside and out, with the exterior cladding left to age beautifully from the elements. On the northern face of the hut, a large area of the cladding can be winched open, revealing the beautiful views of the coastline. Inside, the design is simple and cosy, with ample storage throughout the open plan design. The small but functional space boldly embraces the beauty of New Zealand’s coastline through its versatility and materiality.
In a design that is a little closer to home for us, Sean Godsell Architects have designed the Tanderra House. The house sits on top of a hill capturing unbroken views of the Victorian countryside to the west, while also gently nestling into the hillside providing shelter from the harsh Australian climate. This, along with the ‘L’ shaped plan allows for a protected outdoor living area – something all Australian homes need! The materials combined with the muted palette allow the design to sink beautifully into the landscape, appearing as if had always been a part of it.