London's best new house extensions revealed in Don't Move, Improve! 2016 awards


south London residence updated with new living spaces, custom-built furniture and a two-storey lightwell has been named winner in a competition to find London's best house extensions (+ slideshow).

Designed by Tsuruta Architects to reveal "memories of place and construction", House of Trace is a two-storey addition to a Victorian property in south London. It was named winner of Don't Move, Improve 2016! this evening.

House of Trace by Tsuruta Architects
Overall winner: House of Trace by Tsuruta Architects. Photograph by Tim Crocker

Judges praised the project for "exhibiting a true understanding of the building's individual history whilst also creating a beautiful new series of spaces for the owners".

They also said its innovative use of materials "demonstrates how design on a budget can look luxurious, and how a considered use of space and light can make the heart race, even in a domestic interior".

House of Trace by Tsuruta Architects
Overall winner: House of Trace by Tsuruta Architects. Photograph by Tim Crocker

Now in its sixth year, Don't Move, Improve! is organised by New London Architecture (NLA) – an independent forum dedicated to new architecture in the capital – in association with Dezeen, Heal's and the RIBA.

Second place was awarded to Sanderson House by David Kohn Architects – a playful extension featuring a red brick exterior thought to look like a fox and a multi-hued interior that references Adolf Loos' Modernist houses of the 1920s.

Sanderson House by David Kohn Architects
Second place: Sanderson House by David Kohn Architects

The third place winner was Shepherd's Bush Extension by Studio 30 Architects, a project featuring large and continuously folding doors and windows that open the living space out to the garden.

Shepherds Bush extension by Studio 30 Architects
Third place: Shepherd's Bush Extension by Studio 30 Architects

Dezeen's architecture editor Amy Frearson and RIBA London Director Tamsie Thomson were among the judges, who were chaired by NLA director Peter Murray.

Facet House by Platform 5 Architects
Best Interior: Facet House by Platform 5 Architects

"The standard of Don't Move Improve continues to rise each year," commented Murray.

"Architects and clients are meeting the challenges presented by London's heritage with stylish and complementary designs," he added. "Land is London's most valuable resource and we must use it efficiently; modification through innovative design can deliver better and more sustainable living space."

The Gables by Patalab Architecture
Best Use of Materials: The Gables by Patalab Architecure

A series of special prizes were also handed out in recognition of different achievements.

Platform 5 Architects won Best Interior with Facet House, a project that exploits the Herringbone pattern of an oak parquet floor, while Best Use of Materials was awarded to The Gables by Patalab Architecure, which combines a multilevel concrete floor with an oak staircase.

Fitzrovia House by West Architecture
Best historic intervention: Fitzrovia House by West Architecture

The prize for Best Historic Intervention was scooped by Fitzrovia House, a project by West Architecture that involved inserting a new residence behind the Georgian facade of a bomb-damaged west-London house.

College Road by Russian for Fish
Cost Effective: College Road by Russian for Fish

The Most Cost Effective award was split between three projects: College Road by Russian For Fish, Extension One by Denizen Works and Nook House by Mustard Architects – proving that budget doesn't always have to restrict ambition.

Cost effective: Extension One by Denizen Works
Cost effective: Extension One by Denizen Works

The competition, sponsored by Axor Hansgrohe and Schueco, was open to any home extension or improvement project completed within the last two years in one of London's 33 boroughs.

All 84 longlisted projects will go on show in NLA's galleries at The Building Centre until March 2016. Londoners wanting to extend their homes will also be able to attend free one-to-one advice sessions with shortlisted architects on Saturday 27 February.

Nook House by Mustard Architects
Cost effective: Nook House by Mustard Architects. Photograph by Tim Crocker

Last year winners were announced in two categories. First place in the home extension category went to a timber-framed extension to a 1960s terraced house in Gospel Oak by Maccreanor Lavington, while the interior design category was topped by a Bloomsbury residence featuring glass walls and simple furnishings.

  • Sim

    Well, these projects are all very interesting. And a very deserving winner in my mind (though the comments on it are pretty harsh).

    The winner, in a way, is a bit like an apartment in the form of a house. A very slender house that requires the owners to use and furnish it in a very conscious and deliberate way. The strong quality of the house lies in an immaterial nature that makes it a bit intolerant for the owners owning a lot of “stuff”.

    It is such a gentle, beautiful building. In competitions like this I can imagine that it must be difficult to weigh these extensions in relation to each other because the premisses for the design can be so very different for each project.

  • James

    Is it just me, or are the Eames chairs in the background of “College Road by Russian for Fish” photoshopped in at completely the wrong size? Apart from that it is very nice!

    • minusthetoast

      I believe those are sized for the kids.

    • Peter Landers

      Not photoshoped in, I took the photos. They are in fact kid-sized Eames chairs. I just loved the yellow.

    • Omikey

      When I stop and anal-ise the setting… James, you are obviously correct.

  • Interesting choices. I cannot say that I like the designs of these extensions (inside or outside) and I am sure that there are better looking projects out there.

    Still, I think that they deserve the places and the attention that they got and that’s because they look like they were built for living. Nowadays we preoccupy ourselves with how something looks and we forget about utility. Fortunately, it doesn’t seem to be the case here.

  • Guest

    Call me a Pawson groupie, but I feel herringbone noggins should do their work beneath plasterboard.

    • Z-dog

      Run plasterboard between the floor joists and install the herringbone noggins beneath it? I doubt Johnny P would get up to such nonsense.