A Tractor Shed Breathes New Life as an Award-Winning Sustainable Home
After architect Greg Storrar helped his parents find a place to retire in rural North Yorkshire, England, it was only natural that he—an Associate at the London–based firm Tonkin Liu—also lead the design and construction of his parents’ home, library, and gallery.
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Given the very modest construction budget and the clients’ desire for a sustainable home, Greg and the Tonkin Liu team turned to the adaptive reuse of an existing agricultural shed set far back on the long and narrow lot.
Expanded to 2,260 square feet, the renovated two-story building—dubbed ‘Old Shed New House’—now comprises three bedrooms with a library and gallery space at its heart.
"Once a container for tools and tractors, [the building] is now a container for a lifetime collection of books and art," say the architects.
"The house is a journey of interconnected spaces that alternate between the grand and the intimate," the firm explains in reference to the two double-height library and gallery volumes, strategically oriented along axial openings in alignment with the surrounding landscape.
In addition to optimized natural lighting and solar shades for mitigating heat gain, Old Shed New House follows passivhaus principles with a highly insulated, airtight envelope complemented by mechanical ventilation with heat recovery. Rooftop solar panels and solar thermal panels provide renewable energy for electricity and hot water. The architects installed low-energy and low-flow fixtures throughout the home.
"The design accommodated the use of traditional construction techniques and low-cost materials to ensure a challenging budget could be met," explain the architects. "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."
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The project has earned numerous awards, among them the 2018 RIBA National Award and the 2018 Stephen Lawrence Prize.