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London’s ‘Tottenham Riad’ unveiled as RIBA House of the Year 2023

The Green House in Tottenham, London (Kilian O’Sullivan/Riba/PA)
The Green House in Tottenham, London (Kilian O’Sullivan/Riba/PA)

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has picked a five-bedroom, sustainable London home nicknamed the “Tottenham Riad” as 2023’s House of the Year.

The only London property shortlisted for the prize this year, the Green House is tucked away in Tottenham and described by judges as a “domestic greenhouse” and “true oasis”.

The revamped terraced house, located in the Clyde Circus Conservation Area, was designed by Spitalfields-based architects Hayhurts & Co and built on a “very tight budget” but feels deceptively “luxurious”.

The property features polycarbonate panels, dense planting, and a central atrium that gives it the nickname “Tottenham Riad”.

A riad is a traditional Moroccan house that’s built around a central courtyard. This “riad-style” atrium is described by Hayhurst as the “heart of the house” and fitted with skylights that flood the property with natural light.

Photographer Tom van Schelven, who owns the house with Amandine Neyses, uses the space and ceiling height to host picture shoots and as a stage for children’s drama performances, RIBA said.

The Green House in Tottenham, London (Kilian O’Sullivan/Riba/PA)
The Green House in Tottenham, London (Kilian O’Sullivan/Riba/PA)

The building materials used include cross-laminated timber walls, which Hayhurst said holds 39 tonnes of sequestered carbon, reclaimed concrete blocks and recycled cork rubber flooring that RIBA says is energy-efficient.

Air-source heat pumps and solar panels are also used to boost the property’s green credentials.

The house was highly commended at the 2022 British Homes Awards and won a 2021 HaringeyDesign Award.

Chairwoman of the jury, Dido Milne, a director at CSK Architects, said: “Green House, affectionately known as the Tottenham Riad, is a true oasis within the city. It is both airy and cosy, bold yet respectful of its neighbours.

 (PA)
(PA)

“Your eye is simultaneously drawn upwards to open sky and down and out across the living room to verdant greenery,” she added.

“On a confined urban site, the house was delivered to a tight budget with an economy of means – and it remains richer for it,” Milne said. “Nowhere do you feel the site or budget was restricted. It feels both luxurious, homely, deeply private and relaxing. It’s an extraordinary ordinary house and a remarkable collaboration.”

 (PA)
(PA)

The home beat a RIBA shortlist which included a renovated Devonshire cow shed, from David Kohn Architects, which featured lights once used to warm calves, and a fortress-like home on the banks of Loch Awe in Scotland from architects Denizen Works.

The award, established in 2013, is presented to the best new architect-designed house or extension in the UK.

Last year’s House of the Year winner was the Red House in Dorset.

Additional reporting by Press Association.