New London Architecture

Don't Move, Improve! 2020 Winners

Soffit House by Proctor and Shaw has been announced as the overall winner of Don’t Move, Improve 2020! Now celebrating its tenth year – this programme showcases the creative and ingenious extensions Londoners are constructing to improve their homes.
Soffit House is a wonderful example of how the space and light in a terraced house can be enhanced by good design. The judges enjoyed how this simple addition transformed the sense of space and connected the areas of the house with each other and the garden. A beautifully understated and generous home!
113 projects have been featured this year, as well as the overall winner six projects were recognised by the jury for their outstanding design.


OVAL, LAMBETH — This terrace house refurbishment and ‘infill’ rear extension creates flexible living, dining, kitchen and study spaces while adding generous double height volume and abundant light to a previously dark interior. The design brought a dank rear external alley space into the house with the double height ‘infill’ glazed extension. The repeating ‘hit and miss’ pattern of the existing terrace rear returns presented the opportunity to create a private and vertically generous infill extension, since the party wall was both unusually tall and windowless. Finished in a beautifully crafted traditional parquet Portland Limestone, the new excavated floor level creates a more comfortable ‘middle ground’ between garden and basement levels without ceiling heights being compromised. The rich material qualities of the floor are matched above with a timber soffit finished in warm oak battens. The oak soffit sweeps upwards at the existing house, revealing a frameless glass opening to sky allowing daylight Into the heart of the house. The study at entrance level enjoys a mezzanine relationship with the new spaces, with views over a frameless balustrade across the new double height space to the garden and beyond, through a huge new pivot glazed aluminium door and clerestorey above.

Size: 159 Sqm Area Added: 9 Sqm Area Refurbished: 150 Sqm Architect: Proctor & Shaw Contractor: Roberto Nunez & Danny Nunez Building Control: Quadrant Approved Inspectors Engineers: Structures In Design Photography: Radu Palicica

Unique Character Prize. White Rabbit House

ISLINGTON — A dramatic new interior inserted into a extended 1970s terraced house. A new staircase sits in a triple height space with a reconfiguration of internal floor levels from two to three stories. The ambition was to turn a very ordinary two and a half bedroom house into something special, while accommodating three double bedrooms and plenty of bathrooms along with generous living space and built in storage. Stripping out the entire interior, a modern interpretation of a Georgian house was inserted into the interior. The design is centred around a cantilevered pill shaped staircase that sits in a triple height space, with the upper rooms accessed direct from the staircase. The hallway has a chequerboard floor in marble and terrazzo with the terrazzo continuing up the staircase. A rear extension provides a kitchen and dining space. A full width roof light illuminates the middle of the plan. Local planning restrictions inexplicably prevented dormer windows to the rear, to achieve three stories the floor plates were redistributed within the available space. There is a visual link through the house from the front door through to the arched garden window and the space beyond. The rear facade is composed of white brick and terrazzo and alludes to Georgian marble fireplace surrounds.

Size: 117 Sqm Area Added: 37 Sqm Area Refurbished: 117 Sqm Total Cost: £367,900 Architect: Gundry + Ducker  Structural Engineer: Feres Ltd Main Contractor: Ic & T Projects Party Wall Surveyor: Graham Kinear       

Urban Oasis of the Year. Laurier Road

DARTMOUTH PARK, CAMDEN — Three new zinc boxes create top floor living accommodation and roof terraces, capping the original brick 1930s converted house on a prominent corner of Dartmouth Park Conservation Area. The previous house sat uncomfortably on this corner amongst much grander houses. New roof extensions were located to increase the coherence of the corner plot with all new elements built in zinc making a clear distinction between old and new. The addition gives the appearance of two three-storey houses facing Laurier Road and a two-storey house facing York Rise. The living accommodation was moved to the top floor to maximise day/sunlight and take advantage of fantastic views of surrounding streets and Highgate Hill. The finned detailing of the facades perform a number of functions: to orient each zinc box to address the respective streets, to give the facade a rhythm which nods to the neighbouring houses, and to provide privacy from long street views. Glazed sections of fins line with the existing windows beneath, tying the new with the host building beneath. The fins are specifically angled to open up the best views from the rooms.

Size: 155 Sqm Area Added: 90 Sqm Area Refurbished: 65 Sqm Total Cost: £380,000 Architect: Richard Keep Architects Structural Engineer: Constant SD Daylight Consultant: SP Planning Party Wall Surveyor: Robson Walsh Contractor: DN Construction Ltd Photography: Ben Blossom

Best project under £75K. Disappearing Bathroom

FOREST GATE, WALTHAM FOREST — Remodelling an introverted Victorian terraced house into a bright, light and airy home, pushing daylight deep into the house, this design works within the fabric of the existing building rather than creating a new extension. Working within a tight budget and the existing area of a 64 sqm traditional Victorian terrace house to reconnect the house to the garden. The design demolished all internal partitions, relocated the stairs to the side, creating an open space that seamlessly connects living, dining, kitchen, bathroom and the garden. A spacious bathroom is provided at the rear of the building with a full-width window to the rear elevation. A full height bespoke bathroom door, opening in two parts, functions as moveable joinery; framing an unobstructed view to the back garden when opened and retained the privacy when closed. The bathroom is no longer simply a functional space but acts as an integral part of the ground floor layout, connecting inside to the outside. Externally, the hit and miss timber cladding conceals storage, display shelves, integrated planter, and incorporates an outdoor seating area. The new garden workshop has been positioned to the rear of the garden, finished with the same timber cladding.

Size: 76 Sqm Area Added: 12 Sqm Area Refurbished: 64 Sqm Total Cost: £66,000 Architect, Landscape Architect
And Interior Designer:
Manyu Architects Structural Engineer: Porthousedean Building Control: London Building Control Photography: Paula Smith

Compact Design of the Year. Vestry Road

CAMBERWELL, SOUTHWARK — Radical remodelling, including rear and side extension, to a Victorian terraced house in Camberwell. Exposed brickwork, white-oiled timber and concrete are combined in a celebration of raw, natural materials. The homeowner wanted a new open-plan cooking and eating spaces that faced out onto the garden, with a focus on natural light and materials to create more usable space and a calm atmosphere. The house was stripped back to a shell, extended and internally rebuilt, including new services and better insulation to improve thermal performance. The use of a limited palette of natural materials provides a consistent language throughout the house, creating a coherent relationship between old and new. White oiled Douglas fir was paired with pale buff bricks which has been expressed both externally and internally, as a subtle contrast with the existing London bricks. Volumetrically, the extensions are articulated into two distinct volumes. A side extension with pitched skylights overhead to bring in plenty of north light into the dining space throughout the day. A rear extension projects slightly further into the garden, framing a set of bi-folding doors across a low-height window bench. The bench provides flexible seating that developed from the client’s particular desire to be able to sit and read in the evening sun, whether with the doors open or closed.

Size: 97 Sqm Area Added: 13 Sqm Area Refurbished: 84 Sqm  Total Cost: £204,780 Architect And Interior Designer: Oliver Leech Architects Structural Engineer: Croft Structural Engineering Party Wall Surveyor: Watson Woods Partnership Approved Inspector: London Building Control Contractor: Firfield Construction Landscape Architect: Anderson Woods    

Environmental Leadership Prize: Three Rooms under a Roof

STOKE NEWINGTON, HACKNEY — Raising the canopy of a crafted timber home to grow alongside an extending family tree. ‘Three rooms’ transforms a small, self-build, timber frame terraced house for a couple, into a four-person home and office. Open plan was no longer suitable for the new-found jubilant chaos of both raising children and working from home, therefore the beloved space was redesigned to adapt for teenagers. Through retaining the fundamental concept of verticality and the sensation of looking up, new ‘canopies’ were interpreted and designed from below. An inventive construction language evolved from birch ply, stressed-skin technology and traditional timber construction, coinciding to create three new rooms under a new roof. Linking the three levels required coupling a new set of stairs with the relocated, bespoke steel staircase. The helical circulation acts as a joyfully economical transition between all floors and maximises the dimensions of the main social space, ensuring gatherings around cooking and the family dining table. The sustainability strategy minimising impact through means of an extensive circular retrofit, post occupancy energy monitoring and a palette of 100 per cent responsibly sourced timber. The new lattice roof not only contributes spatially but enables a stack effect from the double height space and passively ventilates the home, showing a consciousness for the buildings on-going carbon consumption.

Size: 114 Sqm Area Added: 33 Sqm Area Refurbished: 81 Sqm Architects: Ullmayer Sylvester Building Control Inspectors: Butler And Young Ltd  Structural Engineer: James BirdwoodParty Wall Surveyor: Thomas And Thomas  Contractor: Proportion Construction Ltd    

Materiality and Craftsmanship Prize Apartment Block

CLERKENWELL, ISLINGTON — An impeccably hand-crafted, two-storey apartment, designed as a solid piece of joinery ‘inserted’ into an existing building and carved out of over 30,000 individual oak cross-section blocks. The existing mezzanine has been reconfigured to maximises the sense of openness, light and spatial quality with a double height living area. Behind the living area sits a contemporary kitchen and a flexible dining room, which can be converted into a second bedroom when necessary. There are sliding pocket doors to this space, letting light soak deep into the plan and exaggerating the size of the space at the ground floor. A staircase, which has been moved to the side of the plan for efficiency, leads up to a study area that looks back over the double-height space and is screened off from the master bedroom behind beautifully crafted, Japanese-inspired sliding screens. Original glazed green bricks line the perimeter of the ground floor. The three-metre tall original sash timber windows now are featured in the main living space, with ornately crafted opening shutters lined with translucent linen to allow light in while still maintaining privacy. The shutters filter sun from the south-facing windows and cast an orchestra of shadows on the walls of the double height living space, ever-changing and moving throughout the day.

Size: 89 Sqm Area Added: 0 Sqm Area Refurbished: 89 Sqm Architect: Coffey Architects Structural Engineer: Morph Structures Ltd Main Contractor: Woods London Joinery Subcontractor: James Wilkie Photography: Tim Soar


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