Apartment Block by Coffey Architects

An experimental brick extension , a house with fir-lined reading nooks and an apartment covered in 30,000 wooden blocks are three of the projects vying to be named London’s best home improvement of 2020.

There are 25 projects shortlisted to win this year’s Don’t Move, Improve! contest – an annual awards programme held by New London Architecture (NLA) to showcase “the ingenuity of residential design” in the UK capital.

Other projects in the running include Vine Architecture Studio’s overhaul of a dilapidated apartment , a Passivhaus-standard extension by OEB Architects and a two-storey timber extension by R2 Studio .

A glass veranda by DROO , a garden flat by Sanya Polescuk Architects and a basement extension by ZCD Architects also made this year’s shortlist.

Now in its tenth year, the annual competition is open to any home-improvement project in any one of London’s 33 boroughs that was completed in the last two years.

As well as the overall winner, the shortlisted entries are competing for six prizes including the Compact Design of the Year and the Environmental Leadership Prize.

There are also two prizes focusing on creativity: the Most Unique Character Award and the Materiality and Craftsmanship prize.

This year’s judging panel was chaired by NLA founder Peter Murray, and included director of the London Festival of Architecture Tamsie Thomson, Tonkin Liu’s founder Anna Liu and director of Elliot Wood, Andy Downey.

The judges said that entries this year were particularly diverse, with trends including intricate facade designs, creating hobby spaces, maximising outward views and playing with light and volume.

“Every year the competition is full of fantastic efforts to push the limits of design,” said Thomson.

“Whether on a tiny triangular plot in the inner city, or out in the suburbs, the entries show the contribution that good design makes to our capital,” she added.

“We’ve seen amazing diversity of approaches to colour, light and materiality – with some of the bolder designs totally reimagining the arrangement of the standard home. Clearly, fresh ideas are still out there.”

This year’s winner will be announced on Tuesday 11 February 2020 at an invite-only exhibition.

Previous winners of the prize include a home built within an abandoned chapel , a revamped Georgian townhouse with a patio that transforms into a reflecting pool , and a dwelling with a garden room containing a sunken Japanese-style bath .

Here’s the full Don’t Move, Improve! 2020 shortlist:


32 Laurier Road, Camden, by Richard Keep Architects

32 Laurier Road, Camden, by Richard Keep Architects


Apartment Block, Islington, by Coffey Architects

Apartment Block, Islington, by Coffey Architects


Ash House, Lewisham, by R2 Studio

Ash House, Lewisham, by R2 Studio


Cloak House, Greenwich, by Threefold Architects

Cloak House, Greenwich, by Threefold Architects


De Beauvoir Townhouse, Hackney, by HÛT

De Beauvoir Townhouse, Hackney, by HÛT


Disappearing Bathroom House, Waltham Forest, by Manyu Architects

Disappearing Bathroom House, Waltham Forest, by Manyu Architects


Douglas House, Brent, by Rise Design Studio

Douglas House, Brent, by Rise Design Studio


Ellesmere Road, Tower Hamlets, by DROO Architects

Ellesmere Road, Tower Hamlets, by DROO Architects


Elmwood Road, Southwark, by Conibere Architects

Elmwood Road, Southwark, by Conibere Architects


Fresh and Green, Camden, by Sanya Polescuk Architects

Fresh and Green, Camden, by Sanya Polescuk Architects


Gellatly Road, Lewisham, by Delve

Gellatly Road, Lewisham, by Delve


Handen House, Lewisham, by Selencky Parsons

Handen House, Lewisham, by Selencky Parsons


Lawford Road, Camden, by OEB Architects

Lawford Road, Camden, by OEB Architects


Love Walk, Southwark, by Vine Architecture Studio

Love Walk, Southwark, by Vine Architecture Studio


Marylebone Apartment, City of Westminster, by Proctor and Shaw

Marylebone Apartment, City of Westminster, by Proctor and Shaw


Mile End Road, Tower Hamlets, by Vine Architecture Studio

Mile End Road, Tower Hamlets, by Vine Architecture Studio


Offset House, Croydon, by R2 Studio Architects

Offset House, Croydon, by R2 Studio Architects


The Rylett House, Hammersmith and Fulham, by Studio 30 Architects

The Rylett House, Hammersmith and Fulham, by Studio 30 Architects


Soffit House, Lambeth, by Proctor and Shaw

Soffit House, Lambeth, by Proctor and Shaw


The Step House, Merton, by Grey Griffiths Architects

The Step House, Merton, by Grey Griffiths Architects


Three Rooms Under a New Roof, Hackney, by Ullmayer Sylvester Architects.

Three Rooms Under a New Roof, Hackney, by Ullmayer Sylvester Architects


Twist House, Islington, by Urban Mesh Design

Twist House, Islington, by Urban Mesh Design


Vestry Road, Southwark, by Oliver Leech Architects

Vestry Road, Southwark, by Oliver Leech Architects


Victoria Park Road II, Hackney, by ZCD Architects

Victoria Park Road II, Hackney, by ZCD Architects


The White Rabbit House, Islington, by Gundry + Drucker

The White Rabbit House, Islington, by Gundry + Drucker

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