Italian architect Maria Giuseppina Grasso Cannizzo has won a RIBA Award for Architectural Excellence, for her design for a house in Sicily. Her award is one of 59, which will be presented to 50 buildings in the UK and nine buildings elsewhere in the EU. The shortlist for the RIBA Stirling Prize for the building of the year will be drawn from these RIBA Award winners.
The FCN 2009 house is composed of two independent constructions: the main house, made of prefabricated elements of reinforced concrete and intended as the master's house, and a mobile volume, with an iron structure, intended as the guest residence. The main house consists of three bedrooms and a large living room which opens to a covered outdoor terrace with views of the valley and the sea. The mobile construction, moving along the tracks anchored to the structure of reinforced concrete, changes the configuration of the building, thus widening the view of the sea.
The presence of opposite openings ensures natural ventilation and provides various views of the sea and the country. The use of insulating board and wood ventilated wall ensures a thermal comfort. The site (a bench of clay with a steep slope), the functional programme, and the limited budget are the basis for the project. Setting the building at the same height of the farmyard raises the walking level over the country level, and assures a larger view of the sea, the possibility of using the farmyard as an outdoor space.
This year's winners range from a house in the shape of a sand dune, to the London 2012 Olympic Stadium, from a demountable opera pavilion to the radical transformation of a Spanish bull-fighting arena. Well-known architects and smaller architecture practices will be battling it out to make it onto this year's RIBA Stirling Prize shortlist. The beautifully finished projects include Bath's Holburne Museum by Eric Parry Architects and the Hepworth Wakefield by David Chipperfield Architects. The RIBA Stirling Prize is awarded to the architects of the building that has made the greatest contribution to British architecture in the past year. The prize will be presented on Saturday 13 October.