See the six Islington buildings which won an architectural award

Lock Keeper's Cottage designed by Sanchez Benton Architects

Lock Keeper's Cottage designed by Sanchez Benton Architects - Credit: Oskar Proctor

Six architectural projects in Islington have won a 2021 RIBA London Award, ranging from three office blocks to a lock keeper's cottage. 

The 46 winning designs in the whole of London were selected by a expert jury, who visited all 77 shortlisted projects.

Regional jury chair, Alfonso Padro, said of this year’s award winners: “The shortlisted projects were of exceptional quality and generated much debate amongst the expert panellists which in part focused upon sustainability and looking ahead to the creation of local community cohesion.

"The challenges of the past year required the judging panel to be creative with their deliberations and entailed several meetings to ensure projects were debated thoroughly and fairly. 

"This is testament to the judging panel’s commitment to the process and to showcasing the UK’s best talent on a global stage.”


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All of the winners from London will now be considered for a national award in recognition of their architectural excellence, which will be announced on September 9. 

Lock Keeper's Cottage designed by Sanchez Benton Architects

Lock Keeper's Cottage designed by Sanchez Benton Architects - Credit: Oskar Proctor

Lock Keeper’s Cottage, Regent's Canal

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The refurbishment of a lock keeper’s cottage on the Regent’s Canal is one of Islington's six award-winning architectural projects. 

The client’s brief to Sanchez Benton architects was to design a home that would harness the existing qualities of the site such as the views of weeping willows and its frontage to the canal. 

A sustainability-conscious approach led the decision to upgrade the existing shell of the house rather than demolish and rebuild. 

"Overall, the project is by turns stimulating, engaging and delightful for its owners and passers-by, making a significant contribution to its immediate environment," said the judges in a statement. 

Tsuruta Architects' 'Wooden Roof' 

Tsuruta Architects' 'Wooden Roof' - Credit: Photo by Ståle Eriksen


'Wooden Roof', Islington

Wooden Roof has taken the addition of a conservatory to a residential home in Islington to a new level of sophistication and elegance, thought the judges. 

Tsuruta Architects' extension has been set partially below ground level to comply with listed building regulations. 

"Clear constraints imposed by its grade II listing – limits on the overall height and the need to remain subservient to the main building – has prompted a bespoke contemporary solution that utilises digital manufacturing techniques," The judges said in a statement.  

"The result is a uniquely crafted timber structure that draws on valuable lessons from traditional Japanese joinery.

"Although it adds visual balance, clarity and beauty to the listed house, it does so in a way that facilitates domestic life."

The judges have put the project forward for the national ‘Small Project’ award.

Tsuruta Architects' 'Wooden Roof' 

Tsuruta Architects' 'Wooden Roof' - Credit: Photo by Ståle Eriksen

The Ray, Farringdon designed by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris 

The Ray, Farringdon designed by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris - Credit: Timothy Soar

The Ray, Farringdon

The Ray in Farringdon Road is a vast, bright and fresh contemporary office building designed by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris architects.

"Strong horizontal banding that indicates the scale of the building within is balanced by vertical brick panelling constructed of many different bonds, colours and textures," said RIBA judges. 

"Like all great architecture, its interior speaks directly to its exterior: natural connection to the public realm, access to greenery, and a playful use of bricks that roots the building in this characterful part of London."

The Ray, Farringdon designed by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris 

The Ray, Farringdon designed by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris - Credit: Timothy Soar

160 Old Street, designed by Orms 

160 Old Street, designed by Orms - Credit: Timothy Soar


160 Old Street

The former Royal Mail building at 160 Old Street has been transformed into a contemporary office building by Orms architects.

"It is a confident and appropriately understated addition to this architecturally eclectic part of the city," said RIBA judges. 

"The decisions to retain the structure, minimize applied internal finishes, and model the operational energy accurately are applauded. 

"Coupled with the careful detailing of the façade and the active, public-facing pavilion, the final result is surely an exemplar of refurbishment for the long-term that others should follow."

160 Old Street, designed by Orms 

160 Old Street, designed by Orms - Credit: Timothy Soar

Apartment Block  designed by Coffey Architects

Apartment Block designed by Coffey Architects - Credit: Timothy Soar

Apartment Block, Clerkenwell

Apartment Block was a project to refurbish a two-storey flat, which Coffrey Architects went on to cover with 30,000 wooden blocks. 

"It cleverly exposes the envelope of what were previously school classrooms in order to effectively retain the original building’s volumetric and material qualities," said judges. 

"The openness of the double-height living spaces and light flooding in through the retained windows gives a strong sense of the building’s history. 

"Indeed, all the spaces can be manipulated with a series of ingenious sliding screens made of timber, reminiscent of the translucent shoji and solid fusuma screens found in historic Japanese residences."

Apartment Block  designed by Coffey Architects

Apartment Block designed by Coffey Architects - Credit: Timothy Soar

York House in Pentonville Road

York House in Pentonville Road - Credit: Jack Hobhouse / dMFK Architects

York House, Pentonville Road

York House, a business centre in Pentonville Road designed by dMFK Architects, is an "exemplary reinterpretation of an anonymous commercial building through refurbishment and extension", RIBA judges concluded. 

"Pentonville Road is a busy one-way street between Islington and Kings Cross, a challenging location when it comes to attracting tenants.

"The architects have more than met this challenge by successfully creating a meticulously detailed and structurally intriguing project that raises the bar for the reuse of unloved buildings."

York House in Pentonville Road 

York House in Pentonville Road - Credit: Jack Hobhouse / dMFK Architects


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