House on the Hill, an extension to a Georgian farmhouse in Gloucestershire by Alison Brooks Architects, has been named RIBA House of the Year 2021.


Paul Riddle

Alison Brooks’ angular two-storey extension to the 18th-century stone farmhouse is set into a hillside overlooking the Wye Valley in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This dark-clad extension houses the living spaces, while the adjoining Georgian building has been restored and converted into a large gallery space for the art collector owners.

A combined kitchen, lounge and dining area adjoining garden terraces in the base of the new wing, while a staircase doubling as additional gallery space continues to a pair of bedrooms and an office above. Skylights, panoramic windows and a terrace set into the facade take advantage of scenic views and fill the spaces within with natural light.


House on the Hill was announced as the winner of the award in the final episode of Grand Designs: House of the Year, which broadcast on 8 December 2021.

Previous episodes of the Channel 4 programme had explored the other homes shortlisted for the award: Corner House by 31/44 Architects, House for Theo and Oskar by Tigg + Coll Architects, House in Assynt by Mary Arnold-Forster Architects, Redhill Barn by Type Studio, Slot House by Sandy Rendel Architects with Sally Rendel and The Water Tower by Tonkin Liu.

“It’s a real honour to win RIBA House of the Year amongst an accomplished shortlist of beautiful projects. I see private house commissions as a rare opportunity to test new ideas in a concentrated form – they are the built equivalent of writing an essay. So, this accolade is a testament to my client’s belief in the value of architecture and their willingness to embrace the new,” said Alison Brooks.

“I’m grateful for their trust in me and my team of talented architects, in Akera Engineers and the brilliant team of builders and gardeners whose skilful contributions produced this remarkable house and gardens, that together reveal a new way of living in the landscape.”


“This geometric design skilfully fuses together the old with the new – connecting two architectures separated by over 300 years. Intriguing and distinguished, House on the Hill is the impressive result of a ten-year collaboration between the homeowners and their architect. This is an extraordinary labour of love in architectural form. Every detail has been meticulously considered and exquisitely finished, resulting in a truly remarkable home that enhances its unique setting,” said RIBA President Simon Allford.

The jury for the House of the Year 2021 was chaired by Amin Taha of Groupwork and made up of Ash Sakula Architects co-founder Cany Ash, and Kieran McGonigle of McGonigle McGrath and winner of the 2019 RIBA House of the Year.


“Some decades in the making, the replacement of a very large 1970s shed housing a pool and ancillary spaces with Alison Brooks Architects lower scaled and fragmented form impressed the jury, in a highly competitive year with contenders excelling in sustainability, craftsmanship, reuse, economy of means and thought-provoking sensitivity. House on the Hill balanced these where others may have, for instance reused but at disproportionate cost, or crafted but to no innovative end,” said Taha.

“The jury felt Alison Brooks Architects had applied their long-researched process of subtly breaking down the rigid and spatially predictable grid with gentle inflection. Adding depth of scale and richness of experience to the existing house, and through the new extension, transitioning with ease into the beautifully landscaped gardens.  It is a model of architectural approach applicable to all scales, resulting from the architects’ long practiced ideas and the clients’ successful collaboration.”