London’s best home extension shortlist revealed in New London Architecture’s Don’t Move, Improve! competition

30 home extension projects have been shortlisted as some of London’s best and most innovative home improvements for the prestigious New London Architecture (NLA) ‘Don’t Move, Improve!’ competition – now in its ninth year and recognised by Dezeen’s inaugural ‘Hot List’ as one of the world’s most popular design awards programmes. Winners will be announced on Thursday 25 January 2018.

The shortlisted projects (pictured) include:

  • Beasley Dickson Architects’ conversion of a former water tank space on top of the Grade II listed Keeling House in Islington
  • Office S&M’s conversion of a Victorian property in East Acton into a ‘mermaid attic’ for three children
  • Hayhurst and Co’s Maida Vale extension of charred larch external timber cladding
  • Tonkin Liu’s project with piping on the roof’s edge, bringing rainwater into a harvesting tank which when discharged transforms a patio below into a reflecting pool
  • Jonathan Tuckey Design’s Knightsbridge project designed for the owner of fashion boutique Egg, known for its minimalist clothes and gallery-like store
  • Mustard Architects’ modest extension of just 7sqm in Barnes creatively accommodates a dining table
  • Paul Archer Design’s shower room offering views across the rooftops of Hackney
  • Threefold Architects’ Hackney art gallery and home

Over 200 family home extensions, studios and garden rooms were submitted to the competition. The 30 best projects were chosen by an eminent jury including Carl Turner of Carl Turner Architects, Cany Ash of Ash Sakula, Zohra Chiheb of Levitt Bernstein, Amy Frearson of Dezeen, Philippa Stockley of the Evening Standard and Peter Murray, Chairman of New London Architecture.

Winners will be announced at NLA on Thursday 25 January 2018 to an audience of 400, launching a major three-month exhibition and the 2018 Don’t Move, Improve! magazine. The first of four public Design Surgeries will be held in February, for homeowners in London looking to extend and improve their homes featuring free consultations with architect practices.

Significant 2018 trends include:

  • Briefs motivated by growing families – Londoners driving densification and responding to the housing crisis with their own action
  • Majority of submissions in Hackney and Islington – demonstrating a shift in the past two years of homeowners settling in East London
  • Homeowners more savvy with budget – with many projects costing below £100,000 and the most affordable longlisted project costing only £16,000
  • An increase in garden structures as an alternative office or studio, as Londoners’ bring their work and hobbies to their homes
  • A focus on recycled materials, timber and colourful interiors

Apart from the prizes for Overall Winner, Second and Third Place there are also special prizes for areas such as Most Sustainable, Most Cost Effective, Most Innovative, Best Interior Design, Best Historic Intervention and Best Use of Materials.

Peter Murray, Chairman of NLA, said:

“Once again this year Don’t Move, Improve! explores the wealth of talent among London’s architects for exciting additions and improvements to the capital’s housing stock. Entries ranged from designs that enhance the interior spaces with better layouts and daylighting to intricate additions that responded to the interests and lifestyle of the occupiers. The huge variety of approaches makes it difficult to point to particular trends, although timber, in various forms, seems to be making a comeback as a wall finish.”

Carl Turner of Carl Turner Architects said:

“Don’t Move, Improve! is crucial to encouraging the improvement or upcycling of places and spaces; the re-use rather than replace. I’m constantly amazed at the thought, care and dedication that architects lavish on these modest projects. I think it’s among the best work they do.”

Amy Frearson of Dezeen said:

“Don’t Move, Improve! is one of my favourite design competitions, as it focuses on an area of architecture that so many people, particularly in London, have either experienced themselves or have aspirations towards, and provides a real source of inspiration.”

Now in its ninth year, NLA’s Don’t Move, Improve! programme celebrates London’s best-designed and most innovative new home extension projects, promoting the work of emerging practices and encouraging the best design in everyday life. The competition highlights the importance of high-quality design and multi-functional spaces in Londoners homes, where space often has to work twice as hard to deliver everyday needs in a condensed footprint.

The programme is run in conjunction with Dezeen, RIBA London, Architect’s Republic and Clippings.com.

The full shortlist

  • 61aMR, Walthamstow by WIDGER Architecture
  • Amhurst Road, Hackney Downs by Poulsom Middlehurst
  • Arbour House, Peckham  by nimtim architects
  • Bayston Road, Stoke Newington by Al-Jawad Pike
  • Black Ridge House, Walthamstow by Neil Dusheiko Architects
  • Burnt House, Maida Vale by Hayhurst and Co
  • Columbia Road, Hoxton by The DHaus Company LTD
  • Corduroy House, Hackney Downs by Manalo & White
  • DA Residence, Walthamstow by deDRAFT
  • Dewsbury Road, Neasden by O’Sullivan Skoufoglou Architects
  • Egg House, Knightsbridge by Jonathan Tuckey Design
  • Greswell Street, Fulham by Simon Gill Architects
  • Greville Road Studio, Kilburn by Syte Architects
  • Hide House, Barnes by Laura Dewe Mathews Architects
  • Manor Road, Stamford Hill by Paul Archer Design
  • My House, Peckham by MW Architects
  • Pitch Perfect, Peckham by nimtim architects
  • Pop-Up Ute, Chalk Farm by Friend and Company Architects
  • Rachel’s House, Haggerston by Paul Archer Design
  • Reading Room, Belsize Park by Studio Carver
  • Roman Road Gallery, Bethnal Green by Threefold Architects
  • SE5: Garden Library, Camberwell by Turner Architects
  • Slope House, Nunhead by Poulsom Middlehurst
  • Sun Rain Rooms, Finsbury by Tonkin Liu
  • Taper House, Barnes  by Mustard Architects 
  • The Copper Lookout, Holloway by Beasley Dickson Architects
  • The Etch House, Honor Oak  by Fraher Architects
  • The Triangle, Clapton by Yellow Cloud Studio
  • The Water Tank, Keeling House, Haggerston by Brian Heron Architects
  • Valetta House, East Acton by Office S&M

Past winners

  • 2017 overall winner – ‘The Sunken Bath’, designed by Studio 304 – a garden room in Clapton, East London, containing a sunken Japanese-style bath
  • 2016 overall winner – ‘House of Trace’, Lewisham by Tsuruta Architects, which went on to win the national RIBA prize
  • 2015 overall winner – ‘Ravenswood’ by Maccreanor Lavington, a timber-framed extension to an end-of-terrace house on a 1960s estate in Gospel Oak