‘Old Shed New House’ is a home nestled within the agricultural landscape of North Yorkshire. The client sought a high quality, energy-efficient and low-cost building to serve as a house, library and gallery.
An existing agricultural shed on the site – once a container for tools and tractors – is now a container for a lifetime collection of books and art. The steel frame and ground slab have been reused and enlarged, retaining the original form of the shed. Newly clad in varied widths of shot-blasted timber and galvanised steel fins, the rhythmic facade reads like the bark of the silver birch that characterise the site.
The surrounding landscape is pulled into the building’s two principle double-height volumes through large axial openings. A long gallery, orientated east-west with the site’s long tree-lined approach, draws visitors in from afar and frames the rising and setting sun from within. A tall south-facing library, bounded by mirror-backed shelving and a light-modulating canopy, evokes a forest clearing in the heart of the house.
The house is a journey of interconnected spaces that alternate between the grand and the intimate. The spacious library is wrapped by a modestly sized living room and three bedrooms, whilst behind the long gallery a thick wall conceals staircase, utility room, and storage. The interplay between single and double height space helps create a great sense of volume and light in a compact plan. The home is part country cottage, part classical villa.
The design accommodated the use of traditional construction techniques and low-cost materials to ensure a challenging budget could be met. Through selective reuse, refined detailing, and the holistic integration of structural, environmental and spatial strategies, ‘Old Shed New House’ is a building that aspires to use the least to make the most.