The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) selected a private residence in Cahuita, Costa Rica, designed by Gianni Botsford Architects of London and Padova, Italy, as the 2008 recipient of its prestigious Lubetkin Prize. Named in honor of Georgia-born architect Berthold Lubetkin, the Lubetkin Prize is awarded to the most outstanding building outside the European Union by a RIBA member; it's chosen from the winners of the RIBA International Awards.
The house, named Casa Kike, was designed for a writer and his collection of 17,000 books. Two parallelogram-shaped pavilions are linked by a raised walkway and oriented with their long sides parallel to the boundaries of the site. Each pavilion's louvered, glazed ends are sited to catch northerly sea breezes. The larger pavilion houses a daytime studio space, which showcases the book collection, as well as a writing desk and grand piano; sleeping quarters and a bathroom occupy the second, smaller pavilion.
Gianni Botsford Architects used locally sourced corrugated steel sheeting for the house's exterior cladding, creating a monolithic appearance, and three species of hardwood for its supporting piles, decking, roof beams, and other structural elements.
According to Lubetkin Prize judge and RIBA president Sunand Prasad, Casa Kike proves that the best architecture need not be grand in scale, so long as it's big in architectural ambition. To view photos of the 2008 Lubetkin Prize winner, visit www.architecture.com/Awards/RIBAInternationalAwards/2008/CasaKike/CasaKike.aspx.