The architecture buzz may be about the Stirling prize, but I prefer RIBA’s lesser-known award for domestic architecture, the Manser Medal, which was also announced on Saturday. This year it’s been won by Pitman Tozer Architects for one of those houses that’s somehow been squeezed into the slimmest of spaces between existing urban buildings, in this case in west London. On one hand, this type of building makes my heart sink – because of the overcrowding that necessitates it – but you could equally argue that it’s a masterful exercise in making the very best of space where others may squander it, and in this case, it’s also been built with energy reduction in mind. As you would expect for an award-winner, Gap House is clever and unexpected, its 2.4m-wide front elevation leading to a much wider open space at the back: a surprise contrast, rather than a jarring one.
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