Refurbished council flat with ‘AI-generated’ engravings wins interior design award

The ‘intelligently designed’ Dragon Flat, by Tsuruta Architects, has taken the top prize for interior design at the Wood Awards 2023.

Subtly reconfiguring the layout of a 1950s duplex council flat in West London, Tsuruta Architects has created a delightful and personal space that enriches the lives of its occupants through use of ordinary sheet materials, including OSB board and birch plywood.

The project embraces modern technology with AI-generated designs CNC-routed into the timber wall panels, bringing a playful graphic detail to the interior.

Exquisitely detailed pale plywood defines the interior aesthetic, forming a walk-in wardrobe, raised tatami platform and cabinets. Wall-to-wall full height cabinets in the living space, providing plenty of hidden storage, are engraved with a large-scale drawing of the River Thames, adding interest to their surface.

Brass clipped OSB boards are used as wallpaper for the tatami bedroom, paying homage to the humble beginnings of the flat. The panels were whitewashed before being CNC-etched with floral motifs, creating contrast for the designs to stand out.

A floating perforated timber stair creates a striking but sensitive feature. Allowing light to filter gently through its slats, this impressive feat of engineering required diligent prototyping to achieve. Digital fabrication methods and a limited material palette were used to produce the stairs and joinery, optimising material by nesting parts across components and minimizing waste.

Dragon Flat was built by JK London Construction, with wood supplied by SR Timber. The structural engineers were Structures Lab.

Jim Greaves of Hopkins Architects, the lead building judge, said:

“The scheme was perfectly designed for its clients and has resulted in a complete transformation of the space, impressively achieved using sheet material. From the engraved friezes to the architect-designed furniture to the hanging stair, this project shows intelligent design and an extraordinary level of integrity.”

The Wood Awards building judges, a team of world-leading professionals led by Jim Greaves of Hopkins Architects, visited all 20 buildings shortlisted in the Wood Awards before deciding the winners, in one of the UK’s most rigorous assessments for any competition.

Dragon Flat was not the only winner of the night, with this year’s best new timber building announced as New Temple Complex, designed by James Gorst Architects.

The likes of Spruce House & StudioThe Black & White BuildingWestminster Hall Roof & LanternThe BoathouseBenenden School, Centenary Hall & Music School and Field Station also all won their categories, showcasing the diverse use of timber, from large commercial offices through to intimate private homes.

Find out more about all the winners of the Wood Awards 2023 by visiting the www.woodawards.com.