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Old Shed, New House by Tonkin Liu

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An agricultural shed in North Yorkshire has been transformed into a house, library and gallery

Once a home for tools and tractors, the steel frame and ground slab of the shed have been reused and enlarged, retaining the original form of the shed.

This has then been reclad in varying widths of shot-blasted timber and galvanised steel fins, in a pattern designed to reference the bark of the silver birch trees on the surrounding site. 

484 img5 alex peacock

Old Shed New House by Tonkin Liu

Large axial openings draw in light and provide views of the landscape, with a long east-west gallery framing the rising and setting sun. The central library is wrapped by a living room and three bedrooms, with a thick wall behind the gallery housing a staircase, utility room and storage.

Architect’s view

This unusual project is perhaps best characterised as a radical retrofit. For reasons of sustainability and sensitivity to the rural site, we opted to retain and extend the ground slab and steel frame of an existing agricultural shed, which gives the new house its notable shallow-pitched form. Whilst the new external appearance of the building is suggestive of its modest agricultural heritage, within we have attempted to create a surprisingly inventive, highly contemporary and carefully tailored home.

484 03 ground floor plan

484 03 ground floor plan

The design accommodated the use of traditional construction techniques and low-cost materials to ensure a challenging budget could be met. Through a combination of selective reuse and refined detailing, together with a committed working relationship with the contractor, we are proud to have delivered a lovingly crafted and bespoke building that belies its cost. In so doing, we hope to inspire more people to consider building their own home.

Greg Storrar, associate, Tonkin Liu

484 05 sections

484 05 sections

Project data

Location Great Ouseburn, North Yorkshire
Appointment 3 November 2016
Commencement 3 January 2017
Completion 28 October 2017
Cost £2,200m²
Architect Tonkin Liu
Structural engineer Rodrigues Associates
Services engineer Integration
Main contractor Vine House Construction
Subcontractor A Wray Electrical
Mechanical GoEco Renewables
Joinery Image Developments
Glazing Clear Living
Green roof Suppliers Skygarden 
Proprietary windows Velfac 
Light fittings iGuzzini
Kitchen Town House Kitchens

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