Designed as “one house for life”, this terrace grows with you. A young couple can let the upper floors to pay their mortgage; then occupy the whole house as their family grows; and finally retire back to the ground floor while rent from upstairs funds their pension.

That’s because the three floors in Lifecycle House can be used independently or together. Each level has a bathroom, outside space (in the shape of a courtyard, a balcony or a roof garden) and independent access off the straight stairs that run from front to back — freeing up floor space. Wide pocket doors and full-height windows in almost all rooms add a sense of light and space.

The ground-floor layout, around a courtyard garden, means the houses can be built back to back. This allows for 75 four-bedroom homes per hectare — more than double the density of most new developments. Built on a highly insulated, cross-laminated timber frame, with brick cladding, bronze anodised aluminium windows and ground-source heat pumps,...

Our proposal is for a new brick-walled building located on the site of the existing Visitor Centre, with a landscaped courtyard straddling the current route into the nature reserve at the entry point.

The new building would simultaneously mark the gateway to the site and be an ‘encampment’ to pre- pare and orient visitors before they venture out into the reserve, and to welcome them on their return. Our concept is of a building that provides shelter while also evoking a sense of discovery, excitement and exploration, and of being at the fringe of unexplored territory.

We are intending to preserve the elemental garden and wild space, and have deliberately situated
the car-parking requirement of the brief and the Reserve management staff facility along the exist- ing entrance route so as to reinforce the idea of our new building as the ‘last bastion of civilisation’ beyond and from which the nature reserve unfolds in all its beauty.

The external faces of our courtyard building will be mad...

‘This Howse first sett amonge the low Marsches was aftar with sore Fludes defacyd and removid to a Cell or Graunge longyng to it caullyd Burgestede in Estsex, a mile or more from Billirica. Thes monks remainid at Burgstede untyll entrete was made that they might have sum helpe otherwyse. Then one of the Richards, Kings of England, toke the Ground and Abbay of Strateford into his protection, and reedi enge it brought the forsayde Monks agayne to Strat- ford, where amonge the Marsches they reinhabytyd.’ 

The Making Places competition organised by Waltham Forest Council asked for proposals for public realm improvements for a number of small sites around the borough. We chose to look at a neglected site on the corner of Brierley road. Our proposal consisted of three moves:

The first is the low and deep concrete wall that runs east/west of the site on a gentle curve. The change in level allows for the wall to be interacted with at different points, providing seating at various heights ac...

IBLA are delighted to have won the 2017 'Self-build on a Shoestring' ideas competition. The competition is organised annually by the National Custom and Self Build Association (NaCSBA) and this year it challenged architects, designers and others to come up with creative ways of constructing a modest ‘granny flat’ that can be built for £40,000 or less. The brief also asked designers to show how 30 of the homes could be arranged to create an innovative retirement community. This year the competition saw entries from the across the UK, and international submissions from Denmark, Australia, the USA, China and Vietnam.

Our entry, 'The Apple Yard', arranged all the homes around the edge of the site, overlooking the central gardens and orchard. Each open plan home has a pyramid shaped roof and one wall that’s fully glazed, overlooking a private garden area.

Our scheme proposes a series of 10 2-bed houses hidden behind a wall. The ‘wall’ conceals private gardens, and opens up to reveal generous entrance porches and kitchen windows, with good surveillance to the pavement. Overhead, the dwellings ‘peek’ over the wall, with windows that look out onto Morpeth Rd.

The section, with its pitched roof form, allows all rooms to face the street or the internal garden, and the houses are designed to have minimal impact on the adjoining residential gardens in terms of light, privacy, and overshadowing.


IBLA were shortlisted out of 120 entries in this RIBA competition to rethink retirement living for a new generation.

"When Thoreau took to the woods, rather than the wilderness, his retreat was conveniently located on the edge of the town of Concord, close to his friend Emerson, and only two miles from his family home. And so, we propose two dwelling types, ‘tree houses’ and ‘courtyard houses’, that combine a private (external) space in the woods with a convivial, across-the-fence relationship to neighbours, convenient parking, and a variety of social spaces: a thoroughly ‘civilised’ retreat.

As well as ground level communal facilities,we have, strung across the stacks of treehouses, a ‘high line’ of connected roof gardens providing facilities for a variety of gentle outdoor pursuits such as barbeque pits, boules courts, outdoor chess tables, greenhouses, bee hives and a bird hide, all set against a treetop view encompassing the nearby Bishop’s Waltham Palace ruins."

Each floor of the house uses the same framework or ‘chassis’, which includes water supplies, waste pipes and electricity, as well as providing the structure of the rooms. This means that it is very simple to adapt the house to different living requirements; in particular it is easy to convert the utility room into a full bathroom, and to convert an upstairs room into a kitchen. Taken together with the discreet ‘pocket’ doors which act as both doors and room dividers, it is very easy to reconfigure the house as a pair of single floor apartments, accessed by an independent shared entrance hall and staircase.


The house can therefore adapt to the owners changing spatial requirements and financial needs over their lifetime. In a typical arrangement, the house is purchased by a young couple who fund the mortgage by sub-letting the upper floor. They start a family as their income increases and are able to expand to occupy the whole house. The simple flexible room arrangements allow the house...

'Make Me a Home' was an International Architecture Competition to re-shape the family home for the future.  It had over 100 entries and our proposal for a new residential quarter for Northshore was selected as a Runner-up.

Our proposals for a new library for Clapham in conjunction with FCB Studios were placed 2nd in a limited competition organised by Lambeth Council.


This competition entry is for a new Conference and Innovation centre for the B.R.E. in Daventry.  It needed to be strong enough to be a marker, yet nuanced enough to resolve and refine the complex geometries of the site.  We settled on a singular building, partly raised above the ground to make it distinct, and gently inflected it to bind it to the landscape.

Buildings are but one part of the continuum of spaces that structure our relationship with the environment. Lawrenny from the air reveals a visual order that encompasses the village dwellings, the interstitial spaces between them and extends out into the surrounding landscape of fields, hedgerows and woods to the river estuary and the sea. On the horizon the distant profile of the Cleddau Bridge provides a useful orientation to the wider context. The built fabric of traditional settlements, like Lawrenny, is the result of a long evolution. The buildings we find today are the most permanent traces of a process of human inhabitation of the landscape. A constantly changing balance influenced by changes in farming practice, social needs and technology. The latest layer of influence, the contemporary issue of sustainability, is simply an extension of this process to larger context; reflecting our growing understanding of the boundaries of our world.

Our competition entry for a 'House of the Future', was based on the idea of a house type designed to cater equally well for the needs of a large and extended family, those of single-person households, and everything in between. 


Currently, the typical family house goes through a life cycle where optimum occupancy is only acheived for a short period.  Our house is planned to enable maximum occupancy, with each floor having the potential to be self-contained; and is designed around a pre-fabricated 'chassis' with integrated mechanical and electrical services.


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