- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 30 May 2018
In July 2017, the SHED concept was unveiled by design team Studio Bark and Lowe Guardians, a property management company. The radical new concept is intended to provide an alternative to central London’s high rental rates for young people. It also seeks to reassess vacant space and how it can provide a sustainable approach to affordable living in city centres.
Lowe Guardians offer property guardianship options for young professionals and low-cost security solutions for property owners. They have teamed up with Studio Bark, an architectural practice that delivers cost-conscious environmental architecture. Studio Bark first came into the public eye when their sustainable, private home ‘Periscope House’ was featured on Channel 4’s Grand Designs.
The SHED concept comprises a modular building system that can be constructed in a day within an otherwise abandoned property, creating a high-quality, affordable accommodation unit. Each SHED is constructed from lamb’s wool insulation, oriented strand board (OSB) and recycled polyester. It also takes a day to dismantle a SHED, which can then be rebuilt on another premises
The SHEDs come in varying sizes but start at around 120 sq ft. As a flexible solution for the short term, the SHED provides an environmentally-friendly, self-contained solution which can be decorated or changed by the occupying Guardians.
Research conducted by Lowe Guardians found that there are currently 600,000 empty properties across the UK that could be used for temporary residency using the new SHED solution. This includes thousands of prime sites in central London.
Tim Lowe, Director, Lowe Guardians, said:
“The vacant buildings we assess can vary hugely in both condition and function. Sometimes the sheer or size or layout of properties means we are unable to take them on. Derelict warehouses remain a huge, untapped potential for us that could benefit Guardians and property owners alike.
“However, the reality is that turning vast, open spaces into private rooms for Guardians has always been both tricky and time consuming. Our aim is to help London professionals and keyworkers as much as we can and this means taking on larger vacant buildings that offer huge potential for providing quality accommodation.
“The SHED concept provides a safe, sustainable alternative for workers seeking short-term accommodation. In every site we occupy, we fit the spaces out to a habitable standard but this has historically created a considerable amount of waste; both financially and environmentally. We were looking for a solution which allowed us to much more creative with the space, and take everything with us when we went onto the next site.”
Content and images courtesy of Studio Bark.
Photographs © David Jensen. Interior design by Anna Glover.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
Which room is the most fun to design? Find out the 'Grand Designs' presenter's unusual choice in our interview.
Full suite of speakers are announced for this year's BSRIA Briefing event.
Book your place for the Architectural Technology Awards 2018.
There are many ways of classifying types of building. Have a look at our range of building articles.
BSRIA have launched the 'major update' of the go-to design framework guide for building services.
How to get results with building life cycle assessment.
Government publishes a prospectus inviting proposals for new 'garden communities'.
The Morandi motorway bridge in Genoa collapses during rainstorm while undergoing maintenance works.
'Developed design' is a phrase coined by the RIBA for their 2013 Plan of Work. But what does it actually mean?
New green paper published aiming to rebalance the relationship between landlords and residents and tackle stigma.
RIBA calls for a comprehensive ban on combustible materials.