For 23 years, the annual AJ Small Projects awards have been honoring the best schemes from around the U.K., all built for under £250,000. From home extensions and restaurants to offices and shops, the awards shed a much-deserved spotlight on smaller-scale projects. Often overlooked, this scale of design forms the core practice for many architects, as well as some more off-grid projects that allow practitioners to innovate and experiment.
This year, 'Wrong House' (£93,000)—a wedge-shaped extension to a semi-detached Victorian townhouse in Hackney, east London designed by Matheson Whiteley—has been awarded the top prize. Chosen from a 20-strong shortlist selected from nearly 200 entries, the winning scheme was praised by the jury for its ‘humility and restraint’ and the great contribution it made to a London street.
The judging panel also commended two schemes—Riverside Solidarity by Baxendale Studio (£1,800) and PEER gallery + pocket park by Trevor Horne Architects (£182,000).
The Riverside Solidarity install was intended as a tool to analyze and document the post-industrial condition of the Govan and Gdansk shipyards. Using 9cm-thick rope found on the site, the finished piece provided two unique places to sit and engage with the landscape.
The second, highly commended project saw the transformation of the area in front of a post office, flats and the PEER gallery on Hoxton Street from a drab, neglected area into a welcoming public space. Carried out by Trevor Horne Architects, the project created a new public plaza with trees, seating, bike stands and art installation along with a new façade and ‘art’ shopfront for the gallery.
Lastly, Made in Oakfield by Matt + Fiona (£21,805) was honored with the 'People's Choice' award. The space was designed and built, alongside the architects, by teenagers from Oakfield School, Hull, a residential school for young people facing emotional and behavioral challenges.
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