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About Architecture for London

This award-winning London architects’ practice is dedicated to creating inspirational architecture and interior design. Its combined design, engineering and construction service ensures that each project meets clients’ exact requirements. Sustainable architecture is at its heart and Passivhaus buildings are a speciality.

Director and architect Ben Ridley, a Passivhaus designer, said:

We create healthy buildings with natural, breathable materials and achieve the highest sustainability and comfort standards, including Passivhaus and EnerPhit. This approach creates warm, low-energy homes and workplaces that are a joy to inhabit. Environmental impact is a key consideration in our work.

We take a research-based, fabric-first approach to sustainability that carefully considers the embodied energy of materials and the performance of our buildings in use. We have also launched AFL Build, our construction division so that we can offer clients a full, turn-key service, with both Passivhaus designers and Passivhaus tradespeople, where the whole team understands the importance of Passivhaus principles and are working toward a common goal.

Residential projects are a speciality

This central London architecture practice specialises in innovative projects and its diverse portfolio includes house extension work and creative architecture. As well as master plans for schemes, the firm can obtain planning permission and building regulations approval for clients, deal with structural engineering issues, and advise on construction cost.

Low-energy house by Architecture for London

Architecture for London extended and refurbished this Edwardian house in Muswell Hill to create a comfortable, low-energy home. The project revealed the original structure of the property and aimed to retain its beauty. Energy requirements were reduced dramatically by insulating, adding triple-glazing and improving airtightness, while new additions include a rear extension and a loft conversion.  

This project aims to be an example of the sustainable refurbishment of a typical terraced home in London, with a constrained budget. Both embodied energy and energy in use have been considered in depth. Design features include timber structure, a continuous airtight layer and insulation to the entire building envelope. Walls were insulated externally at the side and rear, and internally at the front with wood fibre. Insulating internally at the front allowed the original Edwardian facade to be preserved. 

Masonry nib walls were retained on the ground floor to avoid energy-intensive steel box frames. Natural materials including stone, timber, and lime plaster were used throughout rather than cement-based products. The rear extension was built in highly insulated 172mm SIPS and all existing building elements achieved a Passivhaus standard U-value of 0.15 or better. An MVHR system provides pre-heated fresh air, creating a warm and comfortable home. The system also filters the incoming air, removing pollen and diesel particulates to create a healthy indoor environment.

Master planning

The house had severe issues with dampness due to non-breathable plasters and renders that had been used in the past. The property has been transformed from a dark and damp house, which hadn’t been refurbished in over 40 years, into a calming family home. The design process carefully balanced energy usage, budget and aesthetics, avoiding compromise between low-energy features and aesthetics. The refurbishment celebrates the Edwardian character of the original building while introducing contemporary details and finishes throughout.

Ben Ridley commented:

People are often surprised by the large open-plan space, and the minimal interior. The house retains its traditional exterior: we carefully refurbished the front facade and original Edwardian front door. People usually expect to see a decorative Edwardian hallway when they walk into these kinds of houses, with the space being split up into a series of small rooms rather than one large continuous volume.

The ground floor ceiling was removed, exposing and celebrating the original timber structure of the house while also giving a sense of heightened volume and space. Exposing these original timber joists was key to retaining a sense of character and charm in the ground floor spaces.

The rear rooms of the house were previously very dark as the rear faces north. It was therefore important to remove most partition walls on the ground floor to create a brighter open-plan reception space. The simple palette creates a tranquil backdrop – I enjoy clean and minimal spaces because they help calm the mind after a busy day of work.

Awards & recognition

  • DMI Environmental Leadership Prize
  • AJ Small Projects Finalist
  • RIBA London Awards 2024 – shortlisted

What we like about his London architects’ practice:

While many London architecture firms deal with residential projects, this practice has in-depth expertise in designing according to Passivhaus principles, for properties ranging from terraced houses to large scale projects. Their past projects demonstrate that the architects can solve problems, and create ground breaking schemes for clients that work in the physical world.

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