Two of the four buildings up for a major UK housing award this Saturday are in Northern Ireland, by Belfast-based practices. On the evening that the Stirling Prize is announced, by the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects), the Manser Medal for the UK’s best home is also given. The four contenders include the Dowling House in Cultra, Co Down, by Hackett and Hall architects and a house in Randalstown, Co Antrim, by Alan Jones Architects. The others on the shortlist are a house in Essex by Alison Brooks Architects and one in London by Jamie Fobert Architects. The two northern houses marry both traditional and contemporary styles, with the Hackett and Hall design being a modern take on a Victorian villa and Alan Jones’ own family home being in the shape of a traditional pitched roof house but clad in dark fibre-cement panels. This pared, armoured exterior – in which even gutters and downpipes are hidden – hides an open interior lit by tall windows stepped along the south side of the building.
The Irish Times