New London Architecture’s group of 15 shortlisted entries for the 2023 Don’t Move, Improve! competition has been announced in celebration of what it says are the most innovative home improvements projects designers in the English capital have to offer.
This year’s competition is organized around a theme of ‘Green Ambitions’ and is being judged by a four-person panel that includes Buro Happold Associate Anna Beckett, architect Phil Coffey, Hilson Moran’s Marie-Louise Schembri, and Wallpaper* magazine Editor Ellie Stathaki.
Design trends seen in the shortlist for the 13th edition of the competition include a preference for natural light, the inclusion of mood-enhancing colors, and better access to nature. A focus on wellness amenities also stood out, along with the projects’ ability to maximize space while providing solutions to what the jury called “compact living.”
More than 130 projects were submitted for the competition. The winner will be announced in May. Keep reading to learn more about each shortlisted project.
Banya and Garden Studio/Cooke Fawcett (in collaboration Black and Milk)
"Houses the traditional elements of a Russian ‘Banya’ — including sauna, bucket shower, and plunge pool — as well as a garden studio. The garden room has large, glazed sliding doors that draw light from the garden into the interior and creates an environment that feels embedded in the surrounding woodland. A large bespoke wrap-over rooflight/window to the rear provides a dramatic framed view of the extensive woodlands behind."
Breathable House/Mike Tuck Studio
"Transforming a Victorian terraced house into a light-filled, breathable home, shaped by natural materials. The ground-floor extension is faced with solid blocks of external cork insulation, as well as a thinner external layer, which sit on a terrazzo plinth. The natural materials allow the previously damp house to breath through the cork construction. Inside and out are also permeable through an oversized timber door, connecting the kitchen to the garden. A large rear window is divided by vertical timber fins to break up the proportions of the elevation, improve privacy, and form a window seat inside."
Brückenhaus/R2 Studio Architects
"Reinterprets contemporary living through an artist’s lens. An expressive colour palette is weaved through the interior while the external form is kept very restrained and functionalist. The rebuilt rear wing provides space for a first-floor wellness area comprising a private roof terrace, sauna and outdoor shower while the opened-up ground floor links the existing house, the extension and the garden through a series of unique but connected spaces."
CLT House/Unknown Works
"A renovation and extension project transforming a modest mid-century terrace into a bold and sustainable new home. The design, for a young family, makes extensive use of pre-fabricated cross-laminated timber (CLT) construction, wrapping the interiors in warm, natural finished timber. At the same time, its exterior is painted a bright yellow, which marks a departure from the context’s norm, also clearly distinguishing between old and new."
Colour Casing/District Architects
"Sought to create the flexibility of a three bedroom two reception house within the footprint of an original small one bedroom flat with a new ground floor wrap around extension. The addition is carefully considered to ensure the spaces are separate, unique to their own setting, yet always borrowing from adjacent spaces where needed."
DB Apartment/Studio Hallet Ike
"A double extension and refurbishment project introducing light and airy lateral living into a previously enclosed ground floor apartment. A clean and minimal design, with an emphasis on high-quality materials used considerately, allows the homeowners to feel the breadth of the property, with physical connections into the garden from multiple aspects."Elizabeth Mews/Trewhela Williams
"Features a minimalist spirit throughout with an interior defined by tonal and textural nuances that help the space to read as a uniform whole. The previously underutilised garage was incorporated into a dual-aspect open plan ordered along a 9m galley kitchen spanning the full depth of the property from street to courtyard."
Graphic House/Office S&M
"Draws on colour to help define key moments throughout the house and tell a story about the building’s purpose and history. The new design draws upon the client’s belief in the power of graphics and love of Art Deco forms, with distinct shapes used to connect spaces and bright colours to enhance every room."
Kitchen in the Woods/A Small Studio
"Sits in a small oasis of protected woodland within the Dulwich Estate which is a conservation area in south London. The focus of the extension was to have a light ecological impact that would avoid disturbing the abundant wildlife in the garden — including foxes, squirrels, birds, and bats."
Low Energy House/Architecture for London
"Aims to be an exemplar for the sustainable refurbishment of a typical terraced home in London. The original structure of the house was revealed, its modest beauty celebrated. Energy requirements are reduced dramatically by insulating, triple-glazing and improving airtightness. New additions include a rear extension and a loft conversion."
Lubetkin Apartment/Studio naama
"Involves the refurbishment of an apartment in Berthold Lubetkin’s Grade II listed Sivill House. The design sought to celebrate the subtle embedded structural framework, connecting to the identity of the building, stripping back areas to reveal original concrete beams, punching through a bedroom and living room wall and integrating timber clad adaptive furniture and bespoke metalwork to give warmth, colour and light to the apartment’s spaces and create beautiful and practical structures."
Rotherfield Street/Atelier Baulier
"Increases the size of the kitchen in this compact one-bed flat and creates a living space directly opening onto the garden. Located in the Canonbury East Conservation area, the project resulted in a 20-square-metre single-storey extension spanning the full width of the rear elevation. Atelier Baulier removed an existing shed and the entire rear facade at lower ground floor level to combine the new and old areas."
The Secret Garden Flat/Nic Howett Architect
"Remodelled a small awkward flat, moving the emphasis of living away from a busy main road to the garden behind. Self-building with a palette of simple and modest materials that could be crafted with their own hands, they have added a new bedroom and a secluded garden studio where both can work from home."
Walled Garden/nimtim architects
"A reimagining of a London Victorian 2-storey garden flat, within the Minet estate Conservation Area in Stockwell. The project added a rear extension, re-configured the interior spaces and included a redesign of the existing garden. The result is a space of reflection and sanctuary from the city: a home full of soft daylight and richly textured natural materials."
White Patio House/Pashenko Works
"Provides a prototype for urban dense living, where the development has been thoughtfully maximized within local planning constraints. It successfully responds to the challenge of making experientially rich dwelling within the context of congested cityscape. The exposed blockwork with high recycled content delineate the whole perimeter of the site as a uniting theme and contriving an ascetic domesticity. The blockwork, steel beams, floor and metal deck — most of the materials have been left true and exposed. "
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