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Duggan Morris's Peckham brick house bags Stephen Lawrence Prize

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Duggan Morris Architects has picked up the £5,000 Stephen Lawrence Prize for its King’s Grove house in Peckham, south east London

The £320,000 project beat two other private houses, a day centre and a hotel to win the high profile prize, sponsored by the Marco Goldschmied Foundation, which celebrates schemes costing less than £1 million.

Set up in memory of the black teenager Stephen Lawrence who was setting out on the road to becoming an architect when he was murdered in 1993, the award is intended to encourage fresh talent working with smaller budgets.

Defeated contenders this year were Hill Top House, Oxford by Adrian James Architects, Hill House, Kent by Hampson Williams Architects, The Dellow Day Centre, London E1 by Featherstone Young and The Marquis Hotel and Restaurant, Dover by Guy Hollaway Architects.

In a statement, the judges – who included Phil Coffey of Coffey Architects, Marco Goldschmied and Stephen’s mother, Doreen Lawrence – said: ‘We were entranced by the demure entrance to this new-build all-brick house in the back lands of two Victorian terraces in Peckham. 

‘The architects had to deal with local residents, party wall agreements and the local planning department to come up with a home that, inside and out, is practical, simple, subtle, timeless and elegant.

There is little sign of the architect…but plenty of architecture

They added: ‘The house is arranged with ground floor living spaces connected to the two bedrooms by means of a simple stair and a central light-well. 

‘The maturity in layout and detailing is evident throughout, not least in the striking bespoke brass window frames recessed into the front and rear facades.  Despite this being a home for architects, there is little sign of the architect…but plenty of architecture.’

Constructed on a backland site in a residential neighbourhood, the two-storey brick villa replaced a plaster-moulding workshop and storage yard and was described by AJ deputy editor Rory Olcayto as a ‘”Yes, in your backyard” riposte to “no society” Nimbyism.’ Read Rory Olcayto’s building study on 16a Kings Grove by Duggan Morris Architects.

A ‘Yes, in your backyard’ riposte to ‘no society’ Nimbyism

Overlooking a large tree-planted courtyard, the brick structure features a central light well with oak joinery, brass fittings and a polished concrete floor inside.

The prize was announced this evening (13 October) during the Stirling Prize Award dinner in Manchester hosted by BBC Radio 4’s Mark Lawson.

Winner of last year’s Manser Medal for its Hampstead Lane refurbishment, the rising star practice was shortlisted with its Old Bearhurst house for the prize again this year but lost out to Maison L in Versaille by Christian Pottgiesser of Architecturespossibles.

Coffey Architects won last year’s Stephen Lawrence Prize for its St Patrick’s Primary School Library in Kentish Town, London.

RIBA citation: 16a Kings Grove by Duggan Morris Architects

This intelligent house in south-east London is a taut, exemplary response to the development of a landlocked site. Reached by a narrow lane, the site is contained by back gardens.

Demonstrating a highly disciplined attention to detail in the design and the immaculate quality of the construction, all fitting-out responds absolutely to the brick module of the enclosure. A simple palette of materials is employed: exposed brickwork, oak storage wall panels, stairs and flooring and dark-stained timber-framed bespoke glazing. There is a playful use of brass in the glazing trim and the taps and more play in the pink, flesh-coloured shower interiors.


16a Kings Grove by Duggan Morris Architects


Project data

Start on site: September 2009
Contract duration: 35 weeks
Gross internal floor area: 140m2
Form of contract: JCT intermediate with subcontractors design portion
Total cost: £320,000
Cost per m2: £2,285
Client: Private
Architect: Duggan Morris Architects
Structural engineer: Lyons O’Neill
Environmental design consultant: Brooks Devlin
Party wall surveyor: BCS Consulting
Main contractor: ME Construction
Annual CO2 emissions: 2,825kg

AJ Buildings Library

See images and drawings of 16a Kings Grove by Duggan Morris Architects


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