House of Trace wins 2016 Stephen Lawrence Prize

House of Trace_WebImage_Tim_Crocker _1

Image: House of Trace by Tsuruta Architects © Tim Crocker

A beautiful and unconventional extension to a London terraced house designed by Tsuruta Architects has been awarded the 2016 Stephen Lawrence Prize.

The prize, set up in memory of Stephen Lawrence who was setting out on the road to becoming an architect before his tragic and untimely death in 1993, and supported by the Marco Goldschmied Foundation, is intended to encourage fresh architecture talent and reward the best examples of projects that have a construction budget of less than £1 million.

Stephen Lawrence Prize founder Marco Goldschmied said:

“It is always encouraging to see a vibrant young practice recognised through the Stephen Lawrence Prize and I am delighted that Tsuruta Architects is this year’s winner. House of Trace is a clever and creative response to the terraced house extension – congratulations to the architects and clients for their combined talent and ambition.”


Notes to editors:

1. For further press information please contact Callum Reilly in the RIBA press office or 020 7307 3757

2. House of Trace citation:

“House of Trace is a surprising and delightful rethink of the terraced house extension. The play between old and new creates intriguing and playful spatial relationships within the house. The central void, marking the split between the old and new, forms a focal point where living and communal spaces have a direct connection to the sleeping and private spaces upstairs.

“The House of Trace represents the merging of two cultures (British and Japanese). The architects wanted to keep a sense of everyday memory, while simultaneously allowing the new intervention to have its own identity. The demolition of the original extension and its replacement called for an intervention that can be read as a part of the original main building without replicating classical vocabulary or gesture.”

Comment by Stephen Lawrence Prize judge Niall McLaughlin:

“The brief for a typical London back extension has been interpreted in an unusually inventive way. The rear return has been retained and enlarged. The architect has painstakingly preserved the very ordinary construction of stock bricks and brought it into a tense, even mannered, relationship with the new work. It allows a strong charge to exist between continuity and change.

“In the interior, most of the new construction is marked by the systematic use of CNC-cut plywood, bound together with simple tenon joints. This technique extends to many elements, from spatial enclosure to furniture making. It allows an elaborate interplay to develop between the aged and weathered elements of the old house and the systematic, prefabricated nature of the new work. The plywood is subtly marked with routed assembly instructions and the occasional stray cartoon character.

“This conflation of the systematic and the winsome has a peculiarly Japanese quality that playfully pulls against the stolid character of the Victorian shell. The architect has a very sure sense of situation and every room feels easy and natural. The balance between quotidian domestic life and architectural poise is highly successful. It reminds us that invention thrives in intimate contact with ordinary life.”

3. The judges for the 2016 Stephen Lawrence Prize were Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon, Doreen Lawrence CBE, the mother of Stephen Lawrence; Marco Goldschmied, RIBA Past President and Founder of the Marco Goldschmied Foundation, which established the Stephen Lawrence Prize in 1998; and Niall McLaughlin, founder of Niall McLaughlin Architects, which won the Stephen Lawrence Prize in 2015.

4. Previous winners of the Stephen Lawrence Prize include The Fishing Hut by Niall McLaughlin Architects (2015); House No 7 by Denizen Works (2014); Montpelier Community Nursery by AY Architects (2013); Kings Grove by Duggan Morris Architects (2012); and St Patrick’s Primary School Library and Music Room by Coffey Architects (2011).

5. The Architects’ Journal is media partner for the RIBA awards, including the Stephen Lawrence Prize. For more information visit:

6. The Royal Institute of British Architects (@RIBA) is a global professional membership body that serves its members and society in order to deliver better buildings and places, stronger communities and a sustainable environment.


Posted on Thursday 6th October 2016

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