Be inspired by home extension competition and Don’t Move Improve

Ravenswood, Gospel Oak. Photo: Tim Crocker

Ravenswood, Gospel Oak. Photo: Tim Crocker - Credit: Archant

Straining at the edges of your home? Priced out of a bigger property in your preferred area? Hampered by planning constraints? A solution may be closer than you think at this competition to reward architectural ingenuity

The interiors continue the use of Douglas Fir timber from outside. Photo: Tim Crocker

The interiors continue the use of Douglas Fir timber from outside. Photo: Tim Crocker - Credit: Archant

A competition to find London’s most innovative architectural home extension, won last year by a Gospel Oak project, is open for entries until early November.

Don’t Move Improve 2016, run by New London Architecture (NLA), showcases the vast scope of solutions available for extending up down or out, a move which is becoming ever more popular in the city, where upsizing can mean bankruptcy or entail a move to a whole new travel zone.

Entries can include extensions on top of, underneath, on the side or back of buildings, interior insertions, conversions and garden studios with the most inventive projects celebrated.

The room proportions were completely reconfigured. Photo: Tim Crocker

The room proportions were completely reconfigured. Photo: Tim Crocker - Credit: Archant

For the non-professionally interested, an exhibition of shortlisted entries will be mounted at The Building Centre in Fitzrovia, while shortlisted practices will also be invited to take part in a series of design surgery events offering one-to-one advice to members of the public.


You may also want to watch:


Last year’s winner, Ravenswood by Maccreanor Lavington, is a timber-framed extension to an end-of-terrace house on a 1960s estate in Gospel Oak.

The estate was originally designed by Robert Ballie for St Pancras Housing Association in 1967 and the contemporary extension was designed to be sympathetic to the whole estate, not just the individual house.

The new extension allowed for the addition of a study. Photo: Tim Crocker

The new extension allowed for the addition of a study. Photo: Tim Crocker - Credit: Archant

Most Read

Inside, the extension allowed a total reorganisation of the internal space of the house, with an additional study, bathroom, bedroom and living room, a side terrace and new cycle storage in the refreshed garden.

Despite their sensitivity to the building’s surroundings, the project was not without its challenges as the client/architect explains: “Achieving planning permission for small bespoke projects in London can be trying, especially when you are both architect and client. This project was no exception – in fact, we wondered if the family may have left home by the time it was built.

“Despite this, the architectural press has many examples of how architects have hunkered down and relentlessly pursued their original vision and achieved something delightful and special in very ordinary contexts. Certainly in the nine years that it took to get planning permission we saw the local authority approve some pretty awful carbuncles with seemly little design evaluation.

The Ravenswood extension is sympathetic to other buildings on the 1960s estate but is marked out by

The Ravenswood extension is sympathetic to other buildings on the 1960s estate but is marked out by the side windows. Photo: Tim Crocker - Credit: Archant

“In 2000, when we submitted the application, it seemed that to put architect on the bottom of the application you were sure to have a hard time. Hopefully this is something that is changing and as it does it would be great to see the enrichment of the fabric of where we live by the small and cost effective schemes that architects are so good at designing for themselves.

“Finally we are rewarded, not only because we enjoy where we live and the added space, but that the neighbours do too. From initial scepticism we are now often stopped by neighbours saying how much they enjoy this new addition to the road.”

Ravenswood in Gospel Oak. Photo: Tim Crocker

Ravenswood in Gospel Oak. Photo: Tim Crocker - Credit: Archant

Any home extension or improvement project completed within the last two years (since September 2013) within one of London’s 33 boroughs is eligible for entry. The deadline for submissions is 6 November 2015 and the winners will be announced at an awards reception on Thursday 21 January 2016

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus