Old farm shed wins Stephen Lawrence Prize after incredible makeover


An old farm shed on the outskirts of a small village in Yorkshire has scooped a major architectural prize thanks to a beautiful renovation.

Old Shed New House won the 2018 Stephen Lawrence Prize after its design left the judges speechless.

The owners stumbled across the rundown shed in a wild garden. They had spent years looking for a quiet spot to build a retirement home, and their architect son Greg – an Associate at London practice Tonkin Liu – quickly got to work drawing up plans.

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He wanted to pull the landscape into the building’s form. A long double height gallery maintains the tree-lined approach and a tall library, bounded by mirror-backed shelving evokes the silver birch trees found on the site.

Old Shed Stephen Lawrence Prize winner photo

RIBA/Greg Storrar

Walking into the library through a sliding door from the living room brought gasps from the awards’ jury. It is the heart of the home and a showpiece for a lifetime’s collection of books. Clever use of light and mirrors give the impression of an art piece in itself. Otherwise the old shed is a modest three-bedroom house, built cost-effectively, but with exquisite detailing throughout.

The owners opted for a muted colour scheme of grey tones, concrete floor and white shaded timber to ensure the art in each room is the focal point.

Old Shed Stephen Lawrence Prize winner photo

RIBA/Greg Storrar

The Stephen Lawrence Prize honours new, experimental architectural talent, celebrating and rewarding projects with a construction budget of less than £1 million. It was first awarded in 1998 in memory of the aspiring architect whose life was tragically cut short in a racially-motivated attack. The winner receives £5,000.

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‘This impressive project has brought life back into a redundant agricultural building to create a breathtaking new home,’ Stephen Lawrence Prize founder, Marco Goldschmied, said.

‘Using sustainable, low-cost materials, Old Shed New House illustrates perfectly what a talented architect can do with a fairly modest budget.’

Old Shed Stephen Lawrence Prize winner photo

RIBA/Greg Storrar

Old Shed Stephen Lawrence Prize winner photo

RIBA/Greg Storrar

Old Shed New House has also made the RIBA House of the Year 2018 longlist, the winner of which will be announced later this year.


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