Don't Move Improve awards 2023

The Don’t Move, Improve! awards 2023 shortlist

15 renovation projects have been shortlisted in New London Architecture’s annual competition

By Jason Podesta |

The shortlist for New London Architecture’s Don’t Move, Improve! awards 2023 has been announced, showcasing some of the best home renovation projects in the capital. Now entering its 13th year, the annual competition celebrates innovative home improvement projects, with the ultimate aim of encouraging homeowners to embark on their own renovations.

The theme of this year’s programme is Green Ambitions, highlighting the importance of improving the sustainability credentials of our homes. These projects were of particular note for striving to keep their impact on the environment low.

Breathable House by Mike Tuck Studio

Mick Tuck Studio tackled a Victorian terrace in east London that was damp and in need of updating. Breathable House was retrofitted using natural building materials. The extension has internal solid blocks of cork, allowing the previously damp house to breathe from a thinner, external layer of cork on a terrazzo plinth. An oversized timber door connects the kitchen to the garden, and timber fins divide a large rear window, breaking up the elevation and forming a window seat.

Breathable House exterior at dusk.

Breathable House. Photo: Luca Piffaretti

Graphic House by Office S&M

Office S&M transformed this Edwardian Hackney build into a colourful home for its Graphic Designer clients. Their love of Art Deco features on Graphic House in a plethora of bold colours from room to room with distinctive shapes. The colours and shapes help tell the story of the home like the mint green to highlight the newer-built areas. The kitchen surfaces are made from recycled plastic cutlery and repairs and restorations were made where possible rather than building from new.

Graphic-House, Don't Move Improve! Awards 2023. Colourful kitchen leading to garden

Graphic House. Photo: French & Tye

Low Energy House by Architecture for London

Architecture for London set out to make the Low Energy House project a showcase of sustainable refurbishment on a budget. The terrace house in Muswell Hill, north London, was renovated and extended to the rear and into the loft. The original Edwardian façade was preserved and insulated internally. Triple glazing and an MVHR system keeps the heat in while maintaining a healthy environment indoors.

Low-energy-house-Photo-Lorenzo-Zandri-640. Dont Move, Improve! Awards 2023

Low Energy House. Photo: Lorenzo Zandri

White Patio House by Pashenko Works

The materials for White Patio House were chosen for their sustainability credentials. Lignacite provided concrete blockwork which keeps the home cool in the summer. The polished concrete floor is heated from underneath, while photovoltaic panels on the roof generate energy. The exterior is clad in corrugated steel and the perimeter blockwork wall is inspired by Belgian Brutalism.

Don't Move Improve! Awards 2023, White Patio House garden exterior.

White Patio House. Photo: Stijn Bollart

Other notable projects shortlisted for the Don’t Move, Improve! 2023 awards include a focus on wellbeing, with innovative improvements to daylight and better access to nature, as well as creative solutions for compact living. 

Banya and Garden Studio in Camden, designed by Cooke Fawcett in collaboration with interior designers Black and Milk, houses the traditional elements of a Russian banya — including a sauna, bucket shower and plunge pool. The garden studio has large, glazed sliding doors and a wrap-over rooflight and window to the rear that invite the surrounding woodland in.

Nic Howett Architect’s Secret Garden Flat project remodelled a small awkward flat on a busy main road to make the most of the garden behind it. Self-building with a palette of simple and modest materials that could be crafted with their own hands, they added a new bedroom and a secluded garden studio where both can work from home.

The full Don’t Move, Improve! 2023 shortlist: