London’s most innovative, sustainable and cost-effective extensions are being celebrated at New London Architecture’s latest exhibition, Don’t Move, Improve! The exhibition features the winners of the NLA’s annual competition to find the best home extensions in London, with the whole shortlist on display alongside the prize winners. House building enthusiasts will also be able to get advice from many of the shortlisted architects in unique consultations and at two public talks.
The NLA, an independent organisation that facilitates debate around the built environment, announced its award-winners on 22 January, giving first, second and third prizes for the best extension , plus special awards for the most sustainable, most cost-effective and most innovative projects, and further prizes for the best historic intervention, best interior and best use of materials.
Several of the winning architecture practices will now be offering consultations and taking part in a programme of seminars, offering their award-winning insights into the art of extensions. People with questions about sustainability, budgeting, planning a design or in need of technical know-how can book 25-minute slots with shortlisted architects, as well as interior designers, landscape architects, surveyors and engineers.
For those with less concrete plans about extending their home, there will be two talks available to book online, on how to extend your home and how to think like an architect. These free talks will take place on 2 March, and there will also be walking tours of the area throughout the day.
Craftworks’ Southwark extension, The Chapel, took the top prize in the awards for its flexible living space that maximised the use of daylight. Peter Murray, the chairman of NLA and one of the judging panel said: “The Chapel is one of the most dramatic transformations and the jury was unanimous in giving it first prize – the large space and elegant treatment of the roof was unbeatable." The extension includes a lower ground level for bedrooms and mezzanine for privacy. The ground floor has an unusual vaulted ceiling that lets natural light into the space, with the practice describing the project as “a play on the nature of a family home and on a chapel, maximising the potential of both spatial typologies.”
Second prize went to Archmongers LLP, also for a project in Southwark: Stego incorporated an extension and refurbishment of a 1980s end of terrace house, creating a new bedroom from a garage, connected via a courtyard extension. Joint third went to Russell Hunt Architects for the Folded Wedge Townhouse, and Gundry + Ducker for its brick-based extension on Lauriston Road, Hackney.
Explaining the jury's thoughts behind the second third place awards, Murray said, "[Stego and Folded Wedge Townhouse] are particularly interesting because the architects took two more unremarkable houses and turned them into something very special. The joint third prize winner at Lauriston Road is a splendid example of creating light and open spaces using simple and well-chosen materials.”
Arboreal Architecture’s Reuse Flat, also in Hackney, was the most sustainable winner, and the practice’s Loft Library in Walthamstow won the prize for most innovative extension. The Reuse Flat project focused on reuse and recycling with materials collected from the deconstruction of the existing flat reused in different ways: the bricks, concrete and wood became a gabion garden wall and the old wooden floor was used in the new wall lining. The project also designed with future deconstruction in mind, planning for the future reuse of many of its materials. For its most innovative prize, Arboreal created a striking new book storage area, converting a loft into a library and office by creating new shelving and surfaces out of spruce plywood.
Other winners included Dominic McKenzie Architects for the best historic intervention for its Tower House project; Catriona Burns Architects won best interior for Crouch End House; Al-Jawad Pike took best use of materials for the Kings Grove project; and the joint winners of the most cost effective extension were Studio MESH’s Scissor Truss House and Knott Architects Breakout Extension.
All the shortlisted projects will be on display at the New London Architecture Galleries in the Building Centre, Store Street, in central London until 29 April, and many of the shortlisted practices will be taking part in the design surgeries.