Old Shed New House / Tonkin Liu

Old Shed New House / Tonkin Liu - ShelvingOld Shed New House / Tonkin Liu - Image 3 of 26Old Shed New House / Tonkin Liu - Image 4 of 26Old Shed New House / Tonkin Liu - Table, ChairOld Shed New House / Tonkin Liu - More Images+ 21

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Old Shed New House / Tonkin Liu - Shelving
© Greg Storrar

‘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.

Old Shed New House / Tonkin Liu - Stairs, Windows, Forest
© Greg Storrar

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.

Ground floor plan

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.

Old Shed New House / Tonkin Liu - Table, Chair
© Greg Storrar
Old Shed New House / Tonkin Liu - Table, Countertop, Windows, Kitchen, Chair
© Greg Storrar

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.

Old Shed New House / Tonkin Liu - Image 3 of 26
© Greg Storrar

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Cite: "Old Shed New House / Tonkin Liu" 15 Oct 2018. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/903822/old-shed-new-house-tonkin-liu> ISSN 0719-8884

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