UK’s best new house

This whimsical, ‘Wallace & Gromit’ house in Edinburgh has been named the 2016 Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) House of the Year. Designed by Richard Murphy Architects, the five-level house is a deeply personal space filled with tricks, surprises and references to Richard Murphy’s own design heroes. 

Awarded every year since 2001, the RIBA House of the Year is a prestigious honour and is given to the best new house designed by an architect in the UK. Encouraging architects to push the boundaries in contemporary building and design while maintaining structural and sustainable integrity, the RIBA House of the Year award celebrates excellence in housing design.

Officially named the Murphy House, the five-level house was an idea that Richard Murphy of Richard Murphy Architects dreamt for himself for nearly a decade. From the street, the Murphy House is a surprising addition at the end of a sandstone terraced street in Edinburgh’s UNESCO-listed, New Town. From a hidden bath in the master bedroom and a folding corner wall, to sliding bookshelf ladders that glide around the subterranean library, this house is filled with a unique and spirited charm. Murphy, inspired by the work of the late Carlo Scarpa, a 20th century Italian architect has created a house full of pure, beautiful craftsmanship.

RIBA President Jane Duncan said: “The Murphy House is this year’s best example of how to overcome challenging constraints – from planning restrictions and an awkward site in an urban location – to build a stunning house. Plus the architect overcame one of the biggest obstacles: a demanding client – himself!

House of the Year judge, Philip Thorn from Hiscox said: “Murphy House was a real box of tricks with a unique, playful character. Although a small property, it was deceivingly large inside due to the clever use of space. Every room contained a surprise and the attention to detail was exceptional.”

For more information about RIBA or the 2016 House of the Year, visit If you would like to see more projects by Richard Murphy Architects, visit their website,

Murphy House by Richard Murphy Architects. Photography by Keith Hunter.

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I am a writer of the weird and wonderful happenings of everyday life with a focus on food & wine, design and travel. Dine With Design is your go-to source for feeding all of your dining, home design and travel cravings.

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