The elegant reinvention of a Victorian terrace: Corner House by 31/44 Architects

Corner House, by 31/44 Architects, has the same elegant proportions as its neighbours in south London, but its rugged concrete detailing and flat roof make it out as the new kid on the block

Corner House is designed by 31/44 Architectures. It has similar elegant proportions to its south London neighbours but with its concrete detailing and flat roof, it stands out as the new kid in the block.

The south London home was built by a property developer, Sarah, who loved the idea of injecting new life into a London street

Sarah, a property developer from south London, built the home. Sarah loved the idea that he could breathe new life into an old street in London.

Inside there was no trace of Victorian, with three floors of uncluttered space, including this modern kitchen-living space

The Victorian-era interior was gone. There were three floors with uncluttered spaces, including this modern living/kitchen space. 

Corner House is designed by 31/44 architects. It has similar proportions to its neighboring houses, but it’s unique concrete details and flat roof makes it stand out.

Meanwhile inside, there was no trace of Victorian, with three floors of uncluttered space.

Sarah, a property investor, created it because she loved the idea to breathe new life into an old street in London.

She stated that she wanted the design to be distinctive but understated so it could blend in with existing elements. The curved corner was designed by the architects to mirror the bar opposite the arches.

Sarah built a new home of 100 meters at the end. The lower floor houses the main living space and a courtyard.

Meanwhile the second floor  had a sitting room and guest bedroom while the master suite at the top of the house.

The house’s ability to take traditional ideas and play with them was admired by the judges. You can enter the diner from the entrance, but it is definitely not Victorian.

The judges admired the way the house takes traditional ideas and plays with them. The entrance leads straight into the kitchen diner which is decidedly un-Victorian (pictured)

The house’s ability to take traditional ideas and play with them was admired by judges. You can enter the diner from the entrance. It is definitely not Victorian (pictured). 

Sarah stated that Victorian terraces can often be dark tunnels, but her vision was to bring light into the space. You have the three aspect of a corner lot, which includes windows along the sides, large doors at either end, and roof lights. 

“You can truly extend your living room.”

A micro cement floor increases the height of the space, allowing for 21st-century functionality.

The top floor upstairs was converted to a master bedroom. Will Burges, an architect, built a conservatory-type room below it.

He explained that looking up at the street feels private because you are in a room with glass and the pavement beneath you.

Sarah and Will have handled all the pitfalls with grace. Michelle said: “It captures elegance from the past in an updated way.” 

The bungalow with a soaring canopy roof designed for disabled children: House for Theo and Oskar by Tigg + Coll Architects

The final long listed property was in the Surrey Hills, with Michelle visiting the House for Theo & Oskar, which was designed by Tigg and Coll architects

The final long listed property was in the Surrey Hills, with Michelle visiting the House for Theo & Oskar, which was designed by Tigg and Coll architects

The second long listed property was in the Surrey Hills, with Michelle visiting the House for Theo & Oskar, which was designed by Tigg and Coll architects.

What does Duchenne muscular dystrophy mean?

Duchenne muscular dysfunction is caused by dystrophin, a protein that causes neuromuscular conditions like Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Each year, around 100 boys are born with this serious condition that causes progressive muscle weakness.

This is a genetic condition that can be passed on.

It can begin in the earliest years of childhood, and may be diagnosed when an individual notices that a child is having difficulty standing.

DMD can make it difficult for children to run, walk and climb.

This condition can cause muscles to weaken, and even waste away from the entire body.

Source: Muscular Dystrophy Campaign 

While from the front, it appeared  like any bungalow on the street, the back of the property had been transformed with a soaring wooden canopy roof which reaches out 11metres from out into the garden and into the house.

It brings delight and joy to  Theo, 10, and Oskar, eight, who were both born with a rare genetic disease called Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

They live here with their four-year-old brother Lucas and parents Nick and  Clara.

Nick explained: “The house is a symbol of the possibilities for Theo, Oskar and their illness, as well as the opportunity to live the life they want.

Duchenne boys are affected by muscle loss. They will be fully dependent on a wheelchair by the age of 11-12. At 18 years old, they’ll probably need a ventilator. They usually die around their mid-20s.

Clara said, “So we live each day trying to find the joy and enjoyment in life.”

An extension that is fully accessible for wheelchairs was built on the existing house. Theo’s and Oscar’s rooms open onto the gardens.

There is a bedroom for Lucas and a playroom behind.  

The family room, which connects the two spaces, is where you will find the adults. It also has a garden room.

Clara and Nick wanted their boys to feel free, but not institutional.

The idea of a roof which had the feel of a treehouse with a leaf canopy was suggested by husband and wife architect David Tigg and  Rachael Coll.

David stated, “This entire design was about the relationship to the garden. 

“The trees and all of nature around us. It protects. The sun dappled through the roof, giving shade during summer. The boys could play there.

Rachael said: ‘The way the structure works is you do have these trunks and then this canopy, floating,  above.’

Michelle said that it felt very natural, and it just floats above the top. However, it’s a huge structure.

David stated that he had great fun working with engineers to solve this problem.

The design needed to be strong to support the hoists  and slings that Theo and Oskar will need in the future. 

Rachael stated: “It’s about following the idea through moving from within to outside and eliminating all barriers.”

The boys will be connected even if they aren’t mobile anymore. There is a level floor and a wide doorway for them to use wheelchairs. 

The house needed to be adapted, but it was not easy. Nick began a campaign for fundraising to help raise money, but he didn’t manage to get his target.

Peter McCall was a partner in a friend and worked as a property developer.

Peter said: ‘When I took it forward to my CEO – he has five kids, three sons  and I have three sons- you just look at this family and ourselves and…there, for the grace of god, goes any of us. If we can do something, we should do it.

The company not only provided expert staff on-site for no cost, but also reached out to all suppliers and asked if they were willing to help.

Peter said that all of them raised their hands and stated, “Absolutely! If you are in need of help, please let us know.” The surprise was real, and no one relented.  

Nick, Clara, as well as the boys, lived in the log cabin located at the bottom the garden’s base during construction.

Nick acknowledged that it was hard. He said: “There were difficult times. There were five of us and an outdoor toilet. We thought, in quiet despair, “Please hurry up!” 

However he added it had all been worth it, saying: ‘It achieved what we hoped it would achieve, an environment for Theo and Oskar to thrive in.’

Clara added: ‘When we see Theodore laughing with his arm in a sling or in a wheelchair, feeling confident –  it’s great for what we have. My opinion is that we’re very fortunate in not being lucky.

Michelle said, “This building shows that architecture can be a powerful tool for combining creativity with intelligence and compassion.”  

An ancient farm house that is now in disrepair: The Outfarm from TYPE Studio

The next property on the longlist saw Michelle travel to deepest Devon to visit The Outfarm, a barn conversion like no other (pictured)

Michelle traveled to Devon in order to view The Outfarm, an extraordinary barn conversion (pictured). 

Michelle was able to travel deepest Devon for the next property, The Outfarm. This barn conversion is unlike any other.

The original openings from the structure where the cattle used to enter and exit are still there, however the inside has been remodeled into a private members club. 

Richard and Dawn fell in love with its romance charm eight years back.

Richard stated that he first glimpsed the place through fog and across fields. It had a fairytale-like feel. It was a magical place that captivated us.

Dawn stated, “It looks very castle-like.”

They were blessed with a son Tom, who was able to make their dreams come true. 

It is home to Richard and Dawn, who fell for its romantic charm eight years ago. Their son Tom designed the perfect home for the couple (pictured, the large upstairs room)

Richard and Dawn love it, falling in love eight years back. Tom, their son designed the ideal home (pictured is the upstairs space). 

He stated, “I think that a fair bit of architecture has to be controlled and disciplined.” It is about truth and expression. The joy of creating a home to care for those you love was overwhelming.

Michelle stated, “From this side, you can get an impression of the Majesty of This Barn.

However, the house was not habitable when they first purchased it. There was no roof, no floor and there were trees growing in every corner.

Richard commented, “The walls were solid and had this feeling that it would last forever.” It would be beyond repair and would soon fall down.

Dawn shared that Dawn felt the following: “It had an amazing feel, and I was certain it required rescue.”

It is still true to its original layout. Downstairs, there are two bedrooms, a bathroom, and a kitchen. 

Upstairs was the central core, which had a wide open space that was unbroken by any interior walls.

Michelle described it as ‘almost Churchlike’. Richard however said that he wanted it to have a barn-like feel. 

The RIBA judges praised that each new barn addition was built upon the existing history. 

Richard was able to live on-site in his yurt while Dawn worked 200 miles away. 

Dawn stated that she used to visit every Thursday, and check on how the progress was being made. Although I wasn’t able to contribute much, it was very thrilling when I arrived.

Richard said: ‘When it was pouring with rain and  so much mud, it could get a bit tetchy. We had enough passion to get by and keep going.

Dawn said, “If someone works really hard at something, it can mean so much more.” This is a fantastic feeling of accomplishment.

Rugged building in the Scottish Highlands: House in Assynt by Mary Arnold-Forster Architects

The second problem-solving longlister defied the challenges of building in the middle of nowhere, with Damian travelling to the North-West coast of Scotland to find it

Damian, a second longlister for problem solving, braved the difficulties of building in the middle. Damian went to Scotland from the North West coast to locate it.

Accessed only by an 8 mile long single track road, House in Assynt had to be built off site and transported in miniscule sections (pictured, the living room)

House in Assynt was only accessible by a 8-mile long single-track road. It had to be constructed on site and then transported in tiny sections. (The living room is pictured). 

The front pod is an open plan living space, while the second pod has a master bedroom with an en-suite and the final pod has an additional bathroom and guestroom (pictured, the master bedroom)

While the front pod offers an open-plan living area, the second pod features a master bedroom and en suite. The final pod also has an additional bathroom. (pictured is the master bedroom). 

The third problem-solving longlister defied the challenges of building in the middle of nowhere, with Damian travelling to the North-West coast of Scotland to find it. 

House in Assynt, which was accessible only via a 8-mile long single track road had to have been built on the site and moved in tiny sections.

It is stunningly beautiful, and has a magnificent interior. The house was constructed in three modular modules with different functions.

A front-facing pod provides an open living space. In the second pod, there is a master suite with an ensuite and the last pod includes an additional bathroom as well as a guestroom.

The owners are Phil and Heather, who discovered the area while holidaying in 2015 and fell in love with it (pictured)

Heather and Phil, the owners of this property (pictured), discovered it while on holiday in 2015. They fell in love with the region and decided to make their home there. 

Heather and Phil are the property’s owners. They discovered the area on vacation in 2015, and instantly fell in love. 

Phil said, “I always wanted to find a home somewhere in the middle. This is where you will find it. 

Heather said, “There is definitely not any of the attractions found in an urban centre.” 

Phil added: “Many might ask, Why would you do such a thing?” Phil continued: “Many people might ask, “Why would you do this?” The answer is that we love the wilderness.

“We did not know what we wanted. We knew that it was something we had to do.

To save time on site, the house was built in a factory 70 miles away in 13 sections before it was transported to the site where it was assembled in just four days

In order to save time, the house was made in 13 sections in a factory about 70 miles away before being transported to its final destination. The entire assembly took just four days. 

The builders battled lashing wind and rain to assemble the home in just four days, with the end result being a remarkably efficient building that now conserves energy (pictured)

It took four days for the builders to build the house, despite rain and wind. The home is now energy-efficient (pictured). 

Heather stated, “When Mary, our architect met us, the first thing that she said to me was that this house would be light and airy.”

Phil commented that Mary had an early vision of what was possible and helped us to realize it. Mary was the first person we saw when we arrived at the site. She leaned down to smell the soil and gave us a tour.

Mary said, in her place: “Who am i to cut ancient rocks?” This is my only visit. Let’s not do that. The building was to be placed between the two highest points of the hill without breaking any rocks.

The home was built on stilts and perched on barely visible concrete.   

The place is a haven for relaxation, but it was not relaxing to build.

It was constructed by 13 sections in a factory about 70 miles away to save on time. Problem was getting sections on site. 

The driver transported each module on a single track. 

Heather shared that he was able to deliver the first cargo load and it shocked her.

The builders battled lashing wind and rain to assemble the home in just four days, with the end result  being a remarkably efficient building that now conserves energy.

The lack of artificial lighting has been reduced by floor-to-ceiling sliding doors, as well as plenty of glass.   

Urban house on a plot the size of a London Tube carriage: The Slot House by Sandy Rendel Architects with Sally Rendel 

Slot House in London, which was built into a tiny 2.8 meter gap between two other homes, was the first property on the longlist (pictured). It is an excellent example of extremely compact living

Slot House, a London property, was constructed in a tiny gap of 2.8 meters between two homes. It was first on the list (pictured). It’s a wonderful example of very compact living.

A fourth house was found in South London’s densely populated streets. There is so much space that it seems there would be no room to build.

Michelle discovered Slot House in that tiny gap of 2.8 meters between two homes. It was built using a steel framework and an original steel staircase. Kevin described the home as “as elegant as it is smart.” 

The husband and wife team Sally Rendel built it on the tiny piece of land that was left over from their house.

They challenged themselves to make a viable home on a plot the size of a London Tube carriage.

Sandy said, “It’s really not an impressive piece of architecture. It’s actually the exact opposite.”  This is a small house. We hope it will prove that even in a tiny space, we are able to make something worthwhile. There is also something to be proud of.

Sally said, “It is pleasurable being in.”

She revealed that before the couple built on the space, there was ‘nothing there’, explaining: ‘It was an access route back  and it never had a proper structure on it, definitely not a dwelling.’

They bought the abandoned alleyway with permission to build a family home of three bedrooms.

Sandy explained that the land is not meant to be home to a large family. It was simply trying to figure out the right level of development.

Sally said that developers had told her more times than once that she was underdeveloping. We wanted something that was joyful, durable, and beautiful to live in. 

Open plan, the ground floor featured a kitchen with double height and a living area, upstairs had a bedroom, a bathroom, and a study.

Because it’s compact, one might think that the interior would be shoebox size. Michelle said, however, that she found it much larger and lighter than expected.

Sandy stated that she hoped to find moments when you could breathe more.

The house was praised by the RIBA judges for its use of natural materials. In order to maximize every space, timber jousts were not plastered.

The use of slimline steel frames to create the home’s structure was another great idea. 

Peter Laidler (structural engineer) explained that the conventional wisdom when building a house was to have brick walls along each side. But you’d lose half an metre. Because the steel frames are only 77mm in diameter, it is crucial.

Each section had to be craned into the frame in huge sections. 

Sandy stated that all connections are fully welded. Sandy said: ‘All the connections exposed are fully welded.

To minimise the structure,  they fixed the staircase onto the steel structure too. Above the living room, the mezzanine studied was located upstairs. 

Brick slips can be used on the exterior of buildings to save space. They are one-third the thickness of traditional bricks. Handcrafted of clay, they are biscuit fired and glazed in gold. 

Sally and Sandy built the house over 4 years. They managed it all around their jobs.

Sally admitted that it was not always easy. She added: “It was pressured but we were there together so we could all share it.”

A 1960s-inspired water tower in rural Norfolk: The Water Tower by Tonkin Liu 

The disused historic Water Tower in Norfolk was purchased by its owners for the equivalent value of scrap metal

Owners purchased the disused, historic Water Tower from Norfolk for an equivalent amount of scrap steel

Tonkin Liu, a 1960s-inspired water Tower was the next to long-listed on the program.

Inspired by 1960s science-fiction, the building featured industrial steel cladding along with vertical glass walls. The living space was suitable for Thunderbirds.

Dennis, a photographer; Misa, an interior designer. 

They purchased the redundant water tower, which was in a state of rusting ruin, and gave it a new lease on life. 

Dennis stated, “I have never been scared of taking apart something to fix it.” He was an engineer on TV, so he used to take things apart and put them back together. This was an enormous feat.

Misa continued: “My parents are both artists, and we used to visit the dump together for an amoily trip.” Our favorite thing to do was to find things that we could repurpose and turn into sculptures.

The building doesn't fall down thanks to the ingenious wooden staircase which acts as an anchor for the house

Thanks to the clever wooden staircase, the building isn’t falling down. 

Standing tall within a setting of fields of Barley, the entire structure of the Water Tower has been ingeniously engineered to account for the absent weight of water and the additional distribution of new accommodation loads

The Water Tower stands tall in a field of Barley. Its entire structure has been cleverly designed to take into account the absence of water weight and additional accommodation loads.

The roof had a huge terrace and the diner was below.

Two double bedrooms had en suite bathrooms. There was also an elevator leading to the upper level.

Michelle likened the building to “a Bond-lair”, while Dennis admitted that it was a very vulnerable spot. When the wind is up that strong, the rain is  usually coming with it and it’s horizontal. You get tossed around and splashed in every direction. It’s real.

It is thrilling. Thunder, lightning, storms. It can wobble in the wind.

Thanks to the clever wooden staircase, the building is not at risk of falling down. 

This structure was constructed from 182 blocks of strong timber. The layers were joined at right angles using glue. The blocks form a huge corkscrew which helps pin the tower on the ground.

Dennis explained that each was uniquely numbered and then labelled.

Judges also praised the roof and floor-to-ceiling windows throughout the bedrooms as well as the living room in the main tank. 

It featured a polished concrete floor and wooden kitchen, as well as a wrap-around window that was 21st Century. 

Michelle stated that there are bits and pieces of architecture all around, but Michelle has somehow managed to make it feel beautiful…it works beautifully. 

At night lights within the water tower reveal a bright and comfortable interior, with plenty of space to live

The interior of the water tower is lit at night by lights. It’s bright and airy, with lots of room to move around. 

Dennis, his son and the principal contractors did all the demolition work on the property. 

Dennis stated that he was physically present quite a bit. We converted a shipping container, and I lived there on weekends. When I woke up one day, I realized that I had taken on way too much. It’s too much.

Mike Tonkin was their architect. He said that he wanted to get to know the people and their desires. Dennis had an obvious taste for thunderbirds. That was what made him so important.

But it was also important to Mike that whatever they  did would be embraced by the local people nearby.

He stated that many of the climbers had done it when they were children. It had to be something that was interesting. Dennis held an open-house day, and about 1,000 people attended. All of them wanted to go inside. 

Michelle said: ‘When they took on this build, it was quite a gamble….reinventing a local landmark, not knowing how much it would cost…but sometimes, you have to take a risk to see somethings true potential.’