South London ‘skinny house’ & renovated 1930s Surrey bungalow on RIBA House of the Year shortlist


Channel 4

The Slot House - a two-storey ‘skinny house’ inserted into a disused alley in Peckham - and House for Theo and Oskar - a 1930s bungalow in Surrey, that has been remodelled and extended to create a fully accessible, open plan family home - are the third and fourth homes to be shortlisted for RIBA House of the Year 2021. The annual award is presented to the best new architect-designed house or extension in the UK, with the shortlisted houses revealed on Grand Designs: House of the Year, Wednesdays at 9pm on Channel 4.

The Slot House by Sandy Rendel Architects with Sally Rendel © Jim Stephenson House for Theo and Oskar by Tigg + Coll Architects © Andy Matthews

The shortlist for the RIBA House of the Year 2021 is:

The Water Tower by Tonkin Liu
House on the Hill by Alison Brooks Architects
The Slot House by Sandy Rendel Architects with Sally Rendel
House for Theo and Oskar by Tigg + Coll Architects
? – to be announced on 1 December 2021
? – to be announced on 1 December 2021
? – to be announced on 8 December 2021


Notes to editors:

Media contact: 020 7496 8349

Images of all the houses featured on Episode 2 of Grand Designs: House of the Year can be downloaded here:

The next episode of Grand Designs: House of the Year airs on Wednesday 1st December at 9pm on Channel 4.

The RIBA House of the Year award was established in 2013 and is awarded to the best new house or house extension designed by an architect in the UK. Previous winners include McGonigle McGrath for House Lessans (2019) HaysomWardMiller for Lochside House (2018), Richard Murphy Architects for Murphy House (2016), Skene Catling de la Peña for Flint House (2015), Loyn & Co for Stormy Castle (2014) and Carl Turner Architects for Slip House (2013).
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is a global professional membership body that serves its members and society in order to deliver better buildings and places, stronger communities and a sustainable environment. Follow @RIBA on Twitter for regular updates.
Grand Designs: House of the Year is produced by Naked West (a Fremantle label), producers of Grand Designs.

Naked creates and produces high quality, innovative factual and entertainment programming for the UK, US, and international markets. Current and recent productions include The Apprentice (BBC One), Grand Designs (Channel 4), Snowflake Mountain (Netflix), Louise Woodward: Villain or Victim? (Channel 4), BAFTA-nominated The Rap Game UK (BBC Three), Tonight with Target (BBC Three), The Chasers Road Trip: Trains, Brains and Automobiles (ITV), Secret Crush (ITV2), Trash Monsters (Channel 4), Planet Sex (BBC Three and Hulu), Great British Railway Journeys (BBC Two) and Escape to the Country (BBC One).

The RIBA judges’ full citations and image links for each building follows:

The Slot House by Sandy Rendel Architects with Sally Rendel


With housing demand what it is, especially within thriving areas that see families and key workers gradually priced out of neighbourhoods, there exist a multitude of 'slot', corner, slither, and back-land sites.

The Slot House demonstrates how with a little more time spent coordinating structure, waste and supply pipes, staircases and cabinetry, the tightest of sites can be inhabited.

It is after all only careful and combined design time, it doesn’t cost any extra but rewards its occupants with credible habitable spaces filled with light, uplifting and with outlook. Simply and modestly illustrating what architects do, finding the beautiful and seemingly inevitable from the meagre and ignored.

Internal Area: 64 m²

Structural Engineer: Structure Workshop

House for Theo and Oskar by Tigg + Coll Architects


Theo and Oskar suffer from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. The challenge was to remodel a small family cottage into a home that would cater to the children’s developing needs, considering their reducing mobility and interaction with their environment, both now and in the future.

Whilst the interventions appear radical from the rear, the extension wraps around the side of the cottage to form a new front entrance, maintaining the important existing horizontal eaves line and the suggestion of a pitched roof. The existing approach was stepped, so the intention was to provide a ‘budget led’ ramp to allow wheelchair access to the new entrance. The groundworker instead voluntarily graded the entire frontage up to the threshold level so resulting in a more holistic, less ‘Part M’, arrival. Wall cladding was detailed based on the materials that the sub-contractor arrived with, rather than what was designed and specified: the architects constantly had to think on their feet to maintain site progress, but not at the expense of the architecture.

The rear façade is dominated by the timber diagrid roof form, cantilevering over the sliding glazed walls which provide the children’s bedrooms with unencumbered access to the covered terrace. The existing cottage is so diminutive that the presence of this low-slung 'spaceship' next to it seems fun and exciting in equal measure - and also curiously appropriate. Inside, the visual connection between the rough, exposed timbers of the original ceilings and those of the new diagrid roof (articulated inside and outside) is very successful and not jarring. The internal circulation has been rationalised with seamlessly integrated pocket sliding doors to afford full access throughout. The identity of the original cottage is not only retained but invigorated.

This project is witness to the client’s commitment to their children’s quality of life and procurement of a relatively simple intervention in a highly imaginative way; the architect’s commitment to delivering something functional but special in the face a constantly evolving procurement process; and the commitment of the contractors and suppliers who put this building together, offering their time, advice and materials within a very tight budget.

This project is a testament to collaboration.

Internal area: 240.00 m2

Contractor: Ballymore

Structural Engineers: Engenuiti

Source Channel 4

November 25, 2021 5:00am ET by Channel 4  


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