North London wins big at RIBA London Awards 2017

Vantage Point by GRID Architects

Vantage Point by GRID Architects - Credit: Morley von Sternberg

8 projects in north London picked up a prize at the RIBA London Regional Awards from a shortlist of 85 buildings.

Sun Rain Room by Tonkin Liu

Sun Rain Room by Tonkin Liu - Credit: Alex Peacock

North London is renowned for its architectural history. Much loved for its Victorian terraces and mid-century modernist residences, the golden postcodes are full to the brim of period properties and historical homes. But London is an ever moving city, and with space north of the river commanding a premium, only the best and most adventurous architects can take on their rivals to win the plot.

And win they have; a plethora of north London schemes have come up trumps in RIBA’s Regional Awards 2017, with no less than eight schemes taking home a prize. A total of 215 schemes were entered for the London awards, each visited by one of five juries, and the winners were announced in late May.

6 Wood Lane by Birds Portchmouth Russum

6 Wood Lane by Birds Portchmouth Russum - Credit: Mike Russum

South west London jury chair Matthew Lloyd said: “The RIBA Awards for 2017 for the London Region have been given for outstanding building design across a very diverse range of building types and scale. This includes a new emergence of significant public sector housing projects, several galleries big and small, national headquarters buildings, significant NHS hospital projects, schools notably in the private sector this time, beautiful office buildings, transport interchanges, and finally the extraordinary small house projects that are so characteristic of this dense city. The year has demonstrated once again the breadth of the capital’s architectural output at the very high level that the RIBA programme requires, and the juries took enormous pleasure in selecting a most exemplary set of schemes.”

So here they are:

Barretts Grove by Amin Taha + Groupwork

Barretts Grove by Amin Taha + Groupwork - Credit: Tim Soar

6 Wood Lane, Highgate by Birds Portchmouth Russum

It took over seven years for the designers to complete this quirky project. Doubling up as a family home and an idiosyncratic self-build design project, the 128 sq mt house features a series of interconnected living spaces which allow wide reaching views into the garden designed by Farrer Huxley & John Duane. From the outside, the home resembles a lighthouse, a motif carried throughout inside where curved blue surfaces meet bold yellow floors, all lit by way of a glass zig-zag dome atop the property. “Obviously we are delighted with the RIBA award. This follows it’s success with receiving the Architecture Prize at the Royal Academy Summer Show and hopefully the house will gather further accolades,” said architect Mike Russum.

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Barretts Grove, Stoke Newington by Amin Taha + Groupwork

Vantage Point by GRID Architects

Vantage Point by GRID Architects - Credit: Morley von Sternberg

An idiosyncratic property on a architecturally jumbled up street, this tall and imposing property features wicker basket balconies and large square windows peppering the façade in a hopscotch pattern. Inside, a number of light and airy double aspect apartments make all use of available space and draw attention to the simple palette of brick, wood and straw.

Vantage Point, Archway by GRID Architects

At first glance, Vantage Point resembles a traditional 1970s office block, but upon closer inspection, it becomes clear why it has garnered praise. The 18 storey block has been externally reclad in angled aluminium to brighten the building and internally detoxed by Wimberly interiors to offer 2,975 sq mt of swish residential units. The remodelling of the building works in tandem with the renovation of the local area including shops and pedestrian areas into an active community space.

Highgate House by Carmody Groarke

Highgate House by Carmody Groarke - Credit: Helene Binet

Highgate House, Highgate by Carmody Groarke

A new build on the cusp of Highgate Woods, this home replaced a detached Edwardian home. The contemporary building that now stands features enormous windows in the double-height hall allowing views of the gardens and woods and is pockmarked with absent brickwork. The sense of materiality achieved by the brick is holistic, providing a sense of space in the 510m² property, structural innovation with its large, flowing spaces and high ceilings, and spatial efficiency. The result is a arresting family home, but you wouldn’t necessarily know it based upon a casual glance in the street.

A spokesperson from Carmody Groarke said: “Its architecture is given physical consistency and presence throughout by its sculptural use of brick as the predominant material. This provides coherence with the surrounding detached houses of the North London suburb, and although manifestly abstract in its use covering all surfaces inside and out, the brick retains association of traditional craft embedded in the eclectic architecture of the neighbourhood.”

Hidden House by Coffey Architects

Hidden House by Coffey Architects - Credit: Timothy Soar

Hidden House, Clerkenwell by Coffey Architects

Set on a tiny plot above the former Clerkenwell House of Detention, this one story home is a masterclass in simplicity at 72 sq mt. The constraints of working with such a small plot in the Clerkenwell Conservation Area necessitated a focus on maximising available light that is achieved by vaulted roof lights and simple yet polished concrete flooring. With just two openings, the house has minimal access to the outside space, but is accessed by way of a large sliding door leading onto a small patio.

Highgate Junior School by Architype

Highgate Junior School by Architype - Credit: Dennis Gilbert

Highgate Junior School, Highgate by Architype

The requirements of a school building are particular in nature. Demanding ample space for play and learning, Architype designed the new building and refurbished the older 19th century villa with a fluid mix of space for privacy and communal gathering. Balconies are large enough to hold classes, with landscape design by Katy Staton Landscape Architecture created to inspire. Timber is the predominant material used internally for its heat and acoustic absorbent qualities. Externally, Portland stone and handmade red brick give the building the community centre feeling it commands.

Home Studio Kilburn Lane, Kilburn by Architecture Studio

Home Studio Kilburn

Home Studio Kilburn - Credit: Lawrence Carlos

An innovative use of a complex space behind Kilburn Lane, Studio McLeod demanded a new workspace for the practice and a family home. The layout reflects the combination of family and office life with the ground floor extension maximised for use by the firm and an upper maisonette providing space for the family. With 63 m² of internal space, the new first floor garden is accessed by a balustrade whilst hidden doors and sliding staircases provide for internal separation and storage space.

Sun Rain Room, Islington by Tonkin Liu

This small 56 sq mt project is just two storeys and formed of rear extension to a Grade II listed Georgian townhouse created to combine the home and office of Tonkin Liu. The roof is carpeted with grass and pocketed with light-wells which allow light to flood in. Surface water is channelled into the eaves and discharged into a tank at which point it is released to fill the black granite courtyard, resulting is a striking reflecting pool which creates a sense of holistic connection to nature. The extension is a sculptural wonder which makes for tricks of light and mirroring under the sweeping roof.