Houses are in the news right now as high street banks start to hike mortgage costs following a rise in interest rates.
But they're also in the spotlight for a different reason.
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has just announced the longlist for the 2017 RIBA House of the Year Award – the UK’s most prestigious award for a new house or extension.
Among the contenders are Woodsman's Treehouse – a self-build treehouse in Dorset, complete with its own suspension bridge and slide. Another, Ness Point, has undulating walls to match its surrounds on the White Cliffs of Dover.
And one residence is not only quirky but corky. Called Redshank, the cork-clad holiday home sits atop a steel tripod structure overlooking Essex marshland.
Here, we present all 20 longlisted properties…
Redshank (Lisa Shell Architects Ltd with Marcus Taylor) in St Osyth, Essex. Insulated with cork, the house pod is accessed via a galvanised steel staircase, while all around nature reclaims the marshland
Woodsman's Treehouse (Brownlie Ernst and Marks Limited) in Thorncombe, Dorset. Set deep in woodland, the property is accessed via a raised walkway – and then a suspension bridge that leads to a door made from charred oak
Ness Point (Tonkin Liu) in Dover, Kent. At one with the area's famous White Cliffs, the house's upstairs rooms are orientated towards a different part of the landscape
The Quest (Strom Architects) in Swanage, Dorset. Built on the site of an old quarry, the single-storey dwelling was created for a couple in their 80s and their disabled daughter
Peacock House (BHSF Architekten with Studio-P) in Aldeburgh, Suffolk. Nestled in a leafy suburb, it comprises three 'building blocks' – main living spaces, study and studio
6 Wood Lane
6 Wood Lane (Birds Portchmouth Russum Architects) in Highgate, London. A self-build labour of love which took more than seven years to complete, its quirky interior includes a zig-zag glazed winter garden dome
Cob Corner (David Sheppard Architects) in Ivybridge, Devon. This barn conversion has taken 14 years to finish and has preserved the 500mm thick cob walls. Cob is a traditional building technique using hand-formed lumps of earth mixed with sand and straw
Caring Wood (James Macdonald Wright and Niall Maxwell), near Maidstone, Kent. Four towers with an interlinking roof mark out this 1,400sq m property
Hill House (Mike Keys and Anne Claxton) in Bath. Located in a conservation area, this three-bed family house was built on the site of a 1960s' bungalow
Highgate House (Carmody Groarke) in Highgate, London. The new-build replaced a large, detached Edwardian house – and lies on the edge of Highgate Woods
Shawm House (MawsonKerr Architects) in West Woodburn, Northumberland. The timber-framed building was constructed in an existing barn and overlooks Northumbrian countryside
South Street (Sandy Rendel Architects Ltd) in Lewes, East Sussex. The house is constrained by a river to its west and main road and cliffs to its east – with expansive glass allowing fantastic views of a nature reserve
No. 49 (31/44 Architects) in Hither Green, London. The self-build lies across the street to a row of Victorian terraced properties – and gives an identity to its side of the street, which previously lacked any definition
Oxfordshire Residence (Richard Meier & Partners Architects LLP with Berman Guedes Stretton) in Oxfordshire. This stark white 1,000sq m house was based on the idea of a reinvention of the country house
Hidden House (Coffey Architects) in Clerkenwell, London. The one-storey property lies on the site of a former caretaker’s shed in the Clerkenwell Conservation Area. And it has a grim past: beneath it are former prison vaults of the Clerkenwell House of Detention, built in 1847
Whole House (Hayhurst and Co.) in Balham, London. Built on the site of a domestic garage, the property is surrounded by the back gardens of terraced houses
Newhouse of Auchengree
Newhouse of Auchengree (Ann Nisbet Studio) in Ayrshire, Scotland. Located on an elevation, this home is formed from a group of separate spaces and reflects the way rural buildings were developed and extended over the years
Fernaig Cottage (Scampton and Barnett Architects) in Wester Ross, Scotland. This home is a renovated, adapted and extended former shepherd’s cottage
Edinburgh Rd (A449 Architects) in Edinburgh. Accessed via a garden courtyard, this house has a new, timber-clad extension which acts as a foil to the stone-built existing form
The Cooperage (Chris Dyson Architects) in Clerkenwell, London. An industrial building constructed in the early 1900s, it was converted for residential use in the 1990s – but has now been redesigned to achieve its full triple-height living space potential
The RIBA House of the Year is awarded to the best new house designed by an architect in the UK. The shortlist will be announced later this month as part of Grand Designs: House of the Year, a special four-part Channel 4 TV series presented by Kevin McCloud, Damion Burrows and Michelle Ogundehin. The winner will be revealed on the show on November 28.