Maggie's Leeds by Heatherwick Studio

Dezeen's top 10 British architecture projects of 2020

In a year when few public buildings opened in the UK, the focus shifted onto unusual housing buildings, clever civic projects and small-scale structures. For our review of 2020, here are 10 of the best.


Top 10 British architecture projects of 2020: Maggie's Centre, Leeds, by Heatherwick Studio

Maggie's Centre, Leeds, by Heatherwick Studio

Thomas Heatherwick's studio explores the healing power of nature with this cancer care centre in the grounds of St James's University Hospital in Leeds.

Like other Maggie's Centres, the building is designed as a supportive environment for those dealing with cancer. It is built from sustainably sourced spruce wood and contains more than 17,000 plants.

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Top 10 British architecture projects of 2020: Town House by Grafton Architects for Kingston University, UK

Town House at Kingston University, London, by Grafton Architects

Kingston University has been completely transformed with this major new teaching building by Grafton Architects.

Intended as a new gateway to the university's campus in southwest London, Town House is enveloped by a facade of colonnades, which create sheltered walkways and balconies around the exterior. The aim is to open up the building's activities to the neighbourhood.

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Top 10 British architecture projects of 2020: The Parchment Works by Will Gamble Architects

The Parchment Works, Northamptonshire, by Will Gamble Architects

One of the most unique houses extensions on Dezeen this year, this project is built within the ruins of a 17th-century parchment factory and cattle shed.

Will Gamble Architects cleverly reworked the dilapidated structure to add an open-plan kitchen, living room and dining area to a listed Victorian house.

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Top 10 British architecture projects of 2020: 95 Peckham Road by Peter Barber Architects

95 Peckham Road, London, by Peter Barber Architects

British architect Peter Barber continued to innovate the British housing sector in 2020, with various projects including this tenement-style housing block.

Drawing from the past, the building explores how dual-aspect and multi-level homes can be combined in a single structure. The block contains a mix of apartments and maisonettes, dotted with south-facing roof terraces and balconies.

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Top 10 British architecture projects of 2020: 6 Orsman Road by Waugh Thistleton Architects in London

6 Orsman Road, London, by Waugh Thistleton Architects

One of this year's best UK projects was built right next door to Dezeen's offices.

This office building by sustainability specialist Waugh Thistleton Architects is built from a mix of cross-laminated-timber and steel. The building is designed to be demountable, meaning its structure could be reused at the end of the building's life.

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Top 10 British architecture projects of 2020: Bunhill 2 Energy Centre in London, UK, designed by Ramboll and Cullinan Studio

Bunhill 2 Energy Centre, London, by Cullinan Studio and McGurk Architects

This ground-breaking infrastructure project was shortlisted for a Dezeen Award this year. Built around a former London Underground station, it harvests energy from the trains speeding past below to provide central heating for nearby homes and workplaces.

With a facade of red prefabricated metal panels, it chimes with the tiled facades that characterise many old Tube stations.

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Top 10 British architecture projects of 2020: English National Ballet by Glenn Howells

English National Ballet, London, by Glenn Howells Architects

With its translucent facade, it's possible to make out the forms of dancers through the walls of this ballet school in east London.

Home to the English National Ballet, the building includes an exhibition gallery, cafe and retail spaces, as well as rehearsal spaces and production facilities for the school.

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Top 10 British architecture projects of 2020: Flat House on Margent Farm, Cambridgeshire by Practice Architecture

Flat House, Cambridgeshire, by Practice Architecture

Hemp forms the walls of this zero-carbon home in rural Cambridgeshire.

Practice Architecture worked with hemp farmers to create a pioneering system of pre-fabricated panels, so the house could be erected in just two days. The building generates all its own power, thanks to a biomass boiler and an array of photovoltaic panels on the roof.

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Top 10 British architecture projects of 2020: The Coach House by Selencky Parsons

The Coach House, London, by Selencky Parsons

In a middle of an exciting streetscape, in a space measuring just 3.5 metres wide, Selencky Parsons found enough room to build this four-bedroom family house.

The building widens out at the back, creating a sunken living room that opens out to the garden.

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Top 10 British architecture projects of 2020: Mother thatched hut by Studio Morison

Mother, Cambridgeshire, by Studio Morison

One of 2020's smallest buildings is this thatched hideaway, designed by artists Heather and Ivan Morison to look like a haystack.

Located within the Wicken Fen Nature Reserve, it offers a moment of solitude and shelter for those out walking.

Find out more about Mother ›