Grand Designs - House of the Year, episode three:Hackney's pyramid garden home and a central London mews house join shortlist for top Riba prize

In the penultimate episode of a special series of Grand Designs, Kevin McCloud reveals the two amazing small homes that have been placed on the shortlist in this year's Riba House of the Year competition...

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Two houses in London - one with a spectacular pyramid garden for a roof, the other a glass-floored, modern mews house - have been announced as the fifth and sixth homes shortlisted for the coveted 2016 Riba House of the Year award.

Host Kevin McCloud and the judges selected the innovative properties from five houses that make the very best of their challenging and often tiny sites.

Garden House
sits behind a row of Victorian houses in a conservation area in Hackney and its crowning glory is a stepped pyramid garden roof with made-to-measure steel troughs that are filled with 800 varieties of plant.

Home to two artists who simply needed more space, they employed architect Nick Hayhurst to create something special on a tiny plot of land. 

The stunning roof garden was initially a way to make the development less intrusive to neighbours, but became the defining feature of the one-bedroom house.

Architect and head of the Riba jury Meredith Bowles says: "This is a very clever use of space, there are tiny spaces made bigger through use of reflections and roof lights."



Modern Mews: Visitors are advised not to wear short skirts because the house has central glass floors from top to bottom (Timothy Soar)

Modern Mews is just that - a modern mews home that can house a 21st century family that craves light.

Architect Phil Coffey not only created a central staircase that runs the whole height of the four-storey house, but installed a series of glass floors that means people can see and hear others in the house wherever they are.

Bowles says the judges were delighted by "the craftsmanship, the intricacy of the detailing, one room being able to see into the next, we love that".

Kevin concludes of the houses that made it on to the shortlist that while they weren't necessarily any better than the others, they were chosen because their architects had "brought joy and delight" to their owners.

The two houses join a Sixties modernist house 'brought back from the dead' in Wiltshire, a partly-subterranean concrete retreat in the Forest of Dean, a half-buried white, mirrored house in Clapham and a Wallace and Gromit-style palace of gadgets in Edinburgh on the shortlist for the 2016 Riba House of the Year award.

Grand Designs: House of the Year is on Thursdays on Channel 4 at 9pm

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