How this 'riad style' self build was praised for its unique 'greenhouse' look

RIBA says the house was built on a tight budget
The 'Green House' includes a range of amazing energy saving features such as a heat pump, solar panels and carbon negative walls (Image credit: © Killian O'Sullivan)

A self build ‘greenhouse’ built on a very tight budget has won the annual House of the Year Award by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

The five-bedroom family home in Tottenham, London, was described as “an inspiring example of what can be achieved with a creative and ambitious approach to design”. 

Judges described the property, known as the Tottenham Riad, as “a true oasis within the city”, highlighting the many energy efficient features inside the property. We take a look at the features that helped win the home its prestigious award.

5-bed ‘domestic greenhouse’ dubbed a ‘true oasis’

Green House is a reimagination of a typical terraced home

The house is clad in polycarbonate panels and screened with dense planting (Image credit: © Killian O'Sullivan)

Located in a conservation area, Green House is a reimagination of a typical terraced house and replaced an existing property down an alleyway on a confined urban plot.

Judges said: “The Riad-inspired urban oasis is flooded with greenery and natural light and has been described by RIBA’s jury as a ‘domestic greenhouse’ and ‘extraordinary ordinary house’. 

“The double-aspect views to the gardens and a roof terrace further emphasise the property’s interrelation to its former, surrounding greenery. The atrium’s rooflights bring daylight into the heart of the home – casting shadows on the walls and changing with each season.”

Jury chair, Dido Milne, 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. Your eye is simultaneously drawn upwards to open sky and down and out across the living room to verdant greenery."

Eco-friendly home built on a budget

RIBA says the house was built on a tight budget but did not disclose how much. 

It is an eco home clad in polycarbonate panels and screened with dense planting. Air source heat pumps and solar panels were also installed to further reduce energy demand.

Dido Milne, said: “The close architect and client relationship, with a joint desire to deliver a truly sustainable home, is evident in all of the design decisions and detailing. On a confined urban site, the house was delivered to a tight budget with an economy of means – and it remains richer for it.

“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.”

Green House is affectionately known as the ‘Tottenham Riad’

Green House is affectionately known as the ‘Tottenham Riad’ (Image credit: © Killian O'Sullivan)

Carbon negative timber walls made from reclaimed concrete blocks

The architects, Hayhurst & Co, said the new cross-laminated timber cladding hold 39 tonnes of sequestered carbon, reclaimed concrete blocks and recycled cork rubber flooring. 

Its central block form was praised as an efficient approach to reduce operational energy use.

The owners use the generous space and ceiling height to host shoots and a stage hosts children’s drama performances.

What is the RIBA House of the Year Awards?

The annual award, presented by RIBA, recognises the best examples of UK one-off house design and has been running since 2013.

The home beat a RIBA shortlist that included a renovated Devonshire cow shed, from David Kohn Architects, which featured lights once used to warm calves.

Previous winners include David Kohn Architects for The Red House (2022), Alison Brooks Architects for House on the Hill (2021), McGonigle McGrath for House Lessans (2019), and HaysomWard Miller for Lochside House (2018).

Sam Webb

Sam is based in Coventry and has been a news reporter for nearly 20 years. His work has featured in the Mirror, The Sun, MailOnline, the Independent, and news outlets throughout the world.  As a copywriter, he has written for clients as diverse as Saint-Gobain, Michelin, Halfords Autocentre, Great British Heating, and Irwin Industrial Tools. During the pandemic, he converted a van into a mini-camper and is currently planning to convert his shed into an office and Star Wars shrine.