Francesca Tattersall

Postgraduate Award

Architecture student, London Metropolitan University

"Winning the AJ Postgraduate Student Award came as a huge surprise as there were so many great entrées this year. I’m ecstatic to have won and have the opportunity of awareness for the project. It’s great to see the topics of low-tech and sustainability driven architecture at the forefront of the decision. I believe architects needs to lead the charge in changing the construction industry. By advocating for regenerative design principles, promoting lean timber construction and prioritising the end-user agency throughout the design process, we can help to reduce the environmental impact of the act of building.

And lastly an enormous thank you to both my tutors David Grandorge and Ted Swift for the guidance throughout the year."

Project description

This is a speculative self-build project for a vacant site at 337-357 Kingsland Road, building on Hackney Council’s Self-Build Challenge. It advocates a shift in housing culture, removing the profit motive and involving users in building their own homes. Simplifying the construction process starts with looking at Walter Segal’s self-build schemes in Lewisham. A hybrid timber frame and service strategy is derived, widening the scope for adaptability. Following the ‘authentic asceticism’ ethos advocated by Pier Vittorio Aureli in his essay ‘Less is Enough’, the project empowers residents to define their own ideals of living. It is led by a team of four – council, self-builders, architect and contractor – with an emphasis on the role of the architect as having a duty of care.

Tutor citation

"Francesca’s design for a self-build housing community in Hackney builds on theoretical and empirical research into more self-reliant ways of living. The project is highly resolved in terms of setting out, calibration of space, its use of a ‘lean’ material palette, integration of services, specific examination of construction processes, material and labour costs and the critical path on which it could be built." David Grandorge and Ted Swift

All about Fran 

  • University:

London Metropolitan

  • Course:


  • Unit:

07: Self Build: Furniture, House and Housing with an Emphasis on Timber Construction

  • Project:

Rigorous Simplification: Self-Build

AJ student prize finalist Fran's work
AJ student prize finalist Fran's work