The Eco-Sheds shine in the Shed of the Year competition

Forget Zaha and the Design of the Year Awards. The annual Shed of the Year competition honours people who build incredible things with their own hands and their own money. There are dozens of entries in categories ranging from pub sheds to Tardis sheds but being TreeHugger, we concentrate on the eco sheds. This year there are some interesting new entries in the category, but one does stand out.

© Richard Pim via Shed of the Year

Richard Pim's Bottle Dome is a truly remarkable structure and my first thought was that if this doesn't win, then there is no justice in the world.

My shed is a dome made with about 5000 glass bottles set between crossed arches - like a huge hot-cross bun. Some part of the glass hemisphere directly faces the sun at all times of the day, giving an extraordinary sparkle which is reflected in an interior pool. It has a bench inside and is quite big (3.1 m from floor to the inside ceiling and 5.0 m in width). It is a feature for my garden.

© Richard Pim via Shed of the Year

I made every part of the dome myself - and emptied a good few of the bottles! The arches and the door frames are made of reinforced concrete for strength. ... The bottles were mortared into the four quadrants between the arches with the necks of the bottles always pointing to the centre of the building. In that way the sunlight comes directly down the bottles.

© Richard Pim via Shed of the Year

It is amazing, but it is not really a shed in the sense of the competition. It is a folly built on the grounds of a commercial garden whereas most sheds in the competition are built by salt-of-the-earth types on seriously low budgets. (Compare it to last year's winner, Alex Holland, here) I suspect that when the voting takes place among the public and the judges, it will take a hit. I know this is a shed competition, not a class struggle, but how a building is used matters.

More on the Bottle Dome here.

It is a very different thing from

Andy Hope's Shack

© Andy Hope via Readershed

Andy writes:

The Shack is created from recycled and upcycled materials . It is 100% solar powered and is my home. I live completely offgrid, even doing my washing the old fashioned way with a copper dolly , tub and mangle. I have a lovely compost loo too.

© Andy Hope via Readershed/ too much information?

The Shack is made from several old doors that I got free from a double glazing company, they are all old wooden doors which I attached to a base made of old railway sleepers the added a pitch roof which is insulated with some sheets of polystyrene I got from a demolition company then finished upholstery style with green leatherette and brass pins.

© Andy Hope via Readershed/ It's like a spaceship

This is clever, almost like a spaceship. There is a permanent and fixed portion with those solar panels and a detachable excursion module that is connected by a tunnel. In fact, the more I look at it, the more it reminds me of this in terms of its sophistication and self-reliance:

NASA/Public Domain

I have a caravan which attaches to the Shack by a tunnel which enables me to disconnect it when I go away working in the summer. The caravan is my bedroom and kitchen and the Shack is my leisure space. I heat it with a woodburner I made from a defunct calor gas bottle.

© Andy Hope via Readershed/ classy interior

That's one classy interior for a shed, this is one for Country Life.

© Andy Hope via Readershed/ Interior detail

I mean, is this a shed or a country house? More info at The Shack

Walking Home

© Sheddie Grant via Shed of the year competition

Here's a design with legs. Sheddie Grant addresses a common problem in the Tiny House movement: where do you put it? The rules are often different for mobile buildings, so this is described as phase one of a larger project, to build a walking shed. It is currently parked, but soon will evolve.

© Sheddie Grant via Shed of the year competition
I wonder how he holds everything in place when it is standing up and walking.

The walking home is the first phase of an actual walking house, the pictures show the living space which will be carried by four hydraulic legs. The legs will be articulated, so that the complete 23foot tall structure will be able to move (more a kind of crab like shuffle than an actual lope). The purpose of the walking home, apart from shameless self promotion, is to draw attention to the issue of land rights in the sense of," here is my walking home, but where can i park it?"

More at Walking Home.

Allotment Roof Shed

© Joel Bird via Shed of the year competition

This is lovely, inside and out. I didn't know that you could build such big sheds at allotment gardens, but Joel Bird writes:

What makes my shed most special is probably the roof. I was tight for space so rather than put a shed on an allotment, I put an allotment on my shed! I use the shed as my work space, the first half is for painting and art, the second half is a music practise room and studio. The very back of the shed is a little work shop, mostly for repairing by bicycle. The shed is special because it provides me with my way of life. It is great to work knowing it gives me a really high level of sustainability.

© Joel Bird via Shed of the year competition

The lights are powered by a solar panel, I use a wood burner to heat it, and then there is the allotment roof. Last year I grew a really decent crop including potatoes, courgettes, leaks, beetroot, onions, carrots, corn, broad beans, peas, mange tout, garlic, asparagus, tomatoes, rhubarb, strawberries, as well as a herb garden. I have a little cooker up there and I often sit up there and make myself warm veg sandwich.

© Joel Bird via Shed of the year competition

Wonderful working interior. A lot more terrific photos at the Allotment Roof Shed.

Earthen Tiny Home Dome

© Jeffery via Readershed

That's a familiar face to TreeHugger readers; we have covered Jeffery's wonderful earthen dome. But he adds some great words to the story:

I feel that much of the western world has become a throw-away society. No longer do we repair our belongings when they wear out or break, but instead we thrown them away and buy new ones. I think knowledge of the value of materials is being lost.

Indeed. More on TreeHugger and at the Shed of the Year competition.

I have only covered new entries in the competition; see all of the eco-sheds here. I also apologize for having left this post so late that the public voting has closed, but will announce the winners when they are chosen.

Tags: Design Competitions | Less Is More | Small Spaces

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