Sun Rain Rooms London House Extension, Good Finsbury Property, British Building Photos

Sun Rain Rooms by Tonkin Liu

NLA ‘Don’t Move, Improve!’ Competition Winner, UK design by Tonkin Liu Architects

26 Jan 2018

Tonkin Liu’s ‘Sun Rain Rooms’ wins ‘Don’t Move, Improve!’ 2018

Location: Finsbury, Islington, Northeast London, England, UK

‘Sun Rain Rooms’, designed by Tonkin Liu has been crowned London’s best and most innovative home extension as overall winner of New London Architecture’s (NLA) annual ‘Don’t Move, Improve!’ competition.

Sun Rain Rooms, Finsbury home interior
photo : Edmund Sumner

Sun Rain Rooms by Tonkin Liu, Finsbury

Other prizes awarded include: Second Prize to O’Sullivan Skoufoglou Architects; joint Third Prize to Al-Jawad Pike and Fraher Architects; Best Historic Intervention to Brian Heron Architects; joint Best Use of Materials to Office S&M and Manalo & White; Most Innovative to Friend and Company Architects and Best Value to MW Architects.

Sun Rain Rooms, Finsbury home interior
photo : Edmund Sumner

The Don’t Move, Improve! ceremony (held Thursday 25 January) coincided with the opening of a major exhibition featuring 120 design-led extension projects. The exhibition runs at the NLA Galleries at The Building Centre in central London until 20 April.

Sun Rain Rooms, Finsbury home interior
photo : Edmund Sumner

‘Don’t Move, Improve!’ – organised in association with Clippings, Architects’ Republic, Dezeen, Dezeen Jobs and RIBA London and featured in Dezeen’s hotlist – highlights the importance of high-quality design and multi-functional spaces in Londoners’ homes, where space often has to work twice as hard to deliver everyday needs in a condensed footprint.

Sun Rain Rooms, Finsbury home exterior
photo : Edmund Sumner

The winning project serves as both a studio for the practice and a home for Mike Tonkin and Anna Liu, based within a Grade-II listed Georgian townhouse in Islington. Designed and constructed by Tonkin Liu, the project also features the work of local craftspeople. Its most notable feature is a pipe on the undulating roof’s edge, which brings rainwater down from the top of the townhouse into a harvesting tank which, when discharged, transforms the patio into a reflecting pool. The project showcases substantial innovation in the fields of timber and glass engineering.

Sun Rain Rooms, Finsbury home stairs
photo : Edmund Sumner

The jury, which included Carl Turner and Cany Ash among others, praised the designers for creating a unique and diverse structure – a model example of live-work spatial programming and for rethinking the traditional garden. Under the roof, a garden room offers a living space for the home and a meeting space for the architectural studio. A mirrored wall in the covered outdoor area beyond conceals a workshop, cooking area, tool shed, store, and deep planter for the small trees in the green roof above. Below the patio, the existing basement has been extended to create a bedroom, two bathrooms and an enlarged plant-filled lightwell.

Sun Rain Rooms London home extension
photograph : Alex James

Philippa Stockley, ‘Don’t Move, Improve!’ judge and journalist, said: “Sun Rain Rooms is so exciting and glamorous – there’s so much happening and it’s a total transformation that makes your heart sing. It’s completely innovative.”

Sun Rain Rooms London home extension
photograph : Alex James

Peter Murray, Chairman of NLA, said: “Don’t Move, Improve! is a wonderful showcase for the quality of architectural talent that abounds in London. The bespoke additions and alterations on show at NLA ensure that London’s stock of homes have a new lease of life, are more sustainable and are fit for a 21st century lifestyle. The exhibition shows off many excellent examples of the designers’ skill at making best use of space within the constraints of the conventional town house. The winning project by Tonkin Liu is a fine example of how creative design can deliver innovative solutions that reinterpret the way we use garden space – even to the extent of enjoying rain!”

Sun Rain Rooms London home extension
photograph : Alex James

Best Historic Intervention was awarded to The Water Tank in Tower Hamlets by Brian Heron Architects – a converted former water tank space on top of Denys Lasdun’s Grade II listed Keeling House from 1957, refitted to create a light-filled one-bedroom duplex penthouse.

Sun Rain Rooms home extension London
photograph : Alex Peacock

The winning projects will now be featured in a dedicated magazine and a three-month exhibition of London’s 120 best home extension projects. The free exhibition will be shown at NLA’s Galleries at The Building Centre, from 26 January to 20 April 2018.

Sun Rain Rooms London home extension
photograph : Alex James

Tonkin Liu

Don’t Move, Improve! 2017

1 Dec 2017

NLA House Extension Contest 2017

London’s best home extension shortlist revealed in New London Architecture’s Don’t Move, Improve!

30 home extension projects have been shortlisted as some of London’s best and most innovative home improvements for the prestigious New London Architecture (NLA) ‘Don’t Move, Improve!’ competition.

61aMR, Walthamstow property extension London
photo : WIDGER Architecture

London Fields © Matt Clayton Photography
photo © Matt Clayton Photography
Don’t Move, Improve! 2016

Location: Finsbury, Islington, London, south east England, United Kingdom

Architecture in London

London Architecture Links – chronological list

London Architecture Walking Tours

London Houses

London Architecture

London Architect Studios

Don’t Move, Improve! Competition

East London Houses

East London House Designs – architectural selection below:

Volcano House, Shoreditch, East London
Architects: Urban Mesh design ltd
Volcano House in Shoreditch
photo © Charles Hosea
New House in Shoreditch

Mapledene Road, Hackney

Kings Crescent Estate Phases 1 and 2, Hackney
Architects: Karakusevic Carson Architects and Henley Halebrown
Kings Crescent Estate Phases 1 and 2, London
photo © Peter Landers
Kings Crescent Estate Hackney Properties

Houses in London

Modern London Property Designs – selection on e-architect below:

Gap House

House in Highgate Cemetery

Khan House

Ladderstile House

Plinth House


London Buildings

Website: New London Architecture NLA

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