Ingenious Remodelling of 1960s London House Wins 2011 RIBA Manser Medal

Ingenious Remodelling of 1960s London House Wins 2011 RIBA Manser Medal

The ingenious re-design and renovation of a 1960s house in Highgate, north London, by Duggan Morris Architects has scooped the Royal Institute of British Architects' (RIBA) prestigious Manser Medal 2011 for the best newly designed house or major extension in the UK, in association with HSBC Private Bank. The presentation of the award took place at a ceremony at the RIBA in London hosted by broadcaster Kirsty Wark, where the winner received a prize of £10,000 and a specially commissioned trophy designed by artist Petr Wiegl.

Originally built in 1968 by an architect couple who lived and worked there until 1992, this Brutalist-style house had undergone unsympathetic renovation and faced demolition until it was spotted by the current owners, another architect couple, who saw the potential of the house and commissioned Duggan Morris Architects to entirely redesign the interior of the house, the garden and roof garden and to restore other details of the building.

Duggan Morris Architects have created a delightful contemporary home with a strong connection between the living spaces and the main garden and roof garden. The architects removed the two main supporting cross walls - and the maze of rooms within them - replacing them with steel beams and columns to create more space in the main living area and master bedroom, which now look straight on to the gardens. The windows and doors were carefully renovated and redesigned and the concrete walls re-exposed to celebrate the original house's design.

"Hampstead Lane has been a labour of love for both architect and client. It 'touches the earth lightly', adopting and encouraging the principles of sustainable design by re-using instead of demolishing," said Angela Brady, President of the RIBA. "The architects have ingeniously reconfigured the house to create flexible, multi-purpose rooms to suit changing lifestyles at the same time as restoring the detailing of the house back to its modernist roots. In Michael Manser's summation: 'this is truly a house of both its time and of the moment.'"

Previous winners of the RIBA Manser Medal include Acme for Hunsett Mill (2010), Pitman Tozer Architects for The Gap House (2009), Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners for Oxley Woods (2008) and Alison Brooks Architects for the Salt House (2007).

Photos: James Brittain