The RIBA House of the Year award - formerly known as the Manser Medal - is one of the UK's highest honours in residential design and this year's last few places on the shortlist of finalists are filling up fast. The latest slots, just announced by the RIBA and seen on screen last night, go to a generous and clever central London house and a beautifully proportioned countrside home in County Down.
Levring House is the inspired work of London based architect Jamie Fobert. Occupying a typical mews house plot in Bloomsbury, this modern home is spacious and stylish, making the most of its site, materials and orientation.
Made of Danish hand made bricks, bronze panels and clear glazing, Levring House also includes a delightful 14m long marble lined lap pool in its basement, as well as ample space for work and play for the owners. A central light well at its heart helps natural light penetrate deep into all interiors.
The House at Maghera was designed by Belfast architecture practice McGonigle McGrath. The house, designed within an existing settlement, takes its cues from the area's vernacular architecture and arrangement. It is composed of two forms, wedged together.
Inside, large, open spaces offer ample living space. A clean decor and a neutral colour palette allows the nature, beautifully framed by carefully placed openings, to take centre stage, uniting inside and outside.
These stunning homes will join Flint House in Buckinghamshire by Skene Catling De La Pena, Sussex House in West Sussex by Wilkinson King Architects, Kew House in London by Piercy & Company and Vaulted House, also in London, by vPPR Architects in the running for the coveted accolade.
With one more nominee left to be revealed, anticipation is rising fast. The winner will be revealed on November 25.