Built Up By Sam Karahan, Matt Akhundzada, Ufuk Bahar & Irkus Altuna

Built Up

​​By Sam Karahan, Matt Akhundzada, Ufuk Bahar & Irkus Altuna (Urbanist Architecture)


Built Up is being proposed to allow the residents of London and developers alike to inhabit the neglected urban roof-scapes.

To lay the foundation of our scheme we have chosen the Meridian House based at 146 Greenwich High Road, London, SE10 8NN.

As a tree growing up, our extension settles on top of buildings strong enough to support its
evolution. The structure lands on top of the existing walls and columns –transmitting the forces as logically as possible towards the ground, we design the homes based on the idea of a living being which transforms, evolves and grows following their inhabitants’ life. In these terms, we propose a minimum element, a box 900mm x 900mm that can be arranged in infinite ways shaping the interior and the exterior of the building. Creating a kind of a narrative in the façade that tells the story of every unit.

With a rain-screen towards the north-west and a wall with the floating conservatories receiving the south-east sun we improve the energetic efficiency of the whole design adding an extra layer to our environmentally concerned design. Moreover, the transformable facades as well as the screen towards the Greenwich High Road allow space for growing plants, making of our building not only a carbon sequestration agent, but an Oxygen generator through photosynthesis.

Recalling the ship building tradition of London, the north-west façade appears to move at wind as sails in the sea horizon, dancing a game of shadows from the outside and a pattern of light to the inside.

At an early stage the project is proposed for being used in less populated areas of the city, and for on residential building. Fostering a vertical mixed use and creating a space for collaboration and togetherness, the building intensifies the residential use of the already built surface. However, the evolution focused character of the project allows the colonisation of every rooftop in London. Conceived as an entity that can grow, transform, mutate or even migrate multiplying across all the rooftops and creating an upper layer that leads to a more efficient, sustainable and dense city.

Combining the most advanced engineered timber technologies and the traditional passive strategies such as the conservatories for heat collection and rain screens for protection we shaped a building that aims to transform the city of today in the London of the future.

We believe that flexibility is paramount for achieving sustainability and longevity. By paying attention to every little detail, the concept Build Up is tailored for contemporary lifestyles yet able to accommodate future developments, as well as adapt to social, economic, and environmental changes. Bu this holistic approach, we engineered an intelligent design that evolve as life evolve. Our dynamic response aims to bring positive and enduring change to people and places from generation to generation.

City Above the City architecture competition

Plan B : City Above the City architecture competition 

Metsä Wood challenged architects and students around the world to push the boundaries of modern wood building design in the urban environment. Entrants from 40 countries created their Plan B to urbanisation using wood (Kerto® LVL – laminated veneer lumber) as the main material. The task was to design a wooden extension to an existing urban building. The entries were designed to 69 cities worldwide.

Explore the designs