‘Practicality, simplicity and elegance’ of design seals win for Hackney practice

Duggan Morris Architects has been awarded the 2012 Stephen Lawrence Prize for a four-bedroom house in Peckham, London.

The Hackney-based practice beat competition from Adrian James, Hampson Williams, Featherstone Young and Guy Holloway to take the prize, which recognises projects with a construction budget of less than £1 million.

Duggan Morris’s entry won for a two-storey house behind two rows of Victorian terraces, built with brick and finished with concrete, oak and white wash.

The judges praised the “practicality, simplicity and elegance” of the project, describing it as “a home with little sign of the architect, but plenty of architecture”.

High boundary walls around the site created an enclosed courtyard within which the house was built. “The ability of the architect to engage with local residents, party wall agreements and the planning department to construct a building on this site is, in itself, a triumph,” the judges added. 

“On entry the landscape of silver birch trees, considered planting and bark mulch suggests a relaxed approach to a project that on first view belies its complexity.

“The house itself is simply arranged with living spaces to the ground floor connected elegantly with a simple stair to two bedrooms above.  A central light well connects the levels. 

“The maturity in layout and detailing is evident in the simple angle used to connect stair to kitchen, the glued brickwork where the site required a change in angle to the perimeter wall, and the striking bespoke window composition and construction with brass frames recessed into the front and rear facades.”

The annual prize was set up in memory of the murdered teenager, who aspired to be an architect, and is sponsored by the Marco Goldschmied Foundation.