How green is your garden shed? This was the question that the young British Designer, Sy Willmer, asked himself during the final year of his MA design program at GÃ¶teborg University in Sweden. Taking the traditional garden shed motif found in many Northern European countries, known as a Friggebod in Swedish, Willmer looked at how this generic structure is typically used. From practical storage and work places, to quiet refuges and from humble huts to extravagant architectural garden monuments. This research lead to a design project which evaluated the need for a flexible solution to an ecologically sound 21st century shed. The result is a modular design which Willmer describes as being "placed in the middle to upper end of the current shed market; more than a utility hut but not a bespoke design of building." The main feature of the design is the slanted green roof, the benefits of which include increased insulation, purifying the run off rainwater and encouraging local biodiversity.While the structural design as a whole is not a radical departure from the traditional form we all know and love, it is in the details that we find effective eco-design. In the slanted green roof design it is clear that Willmer has thought carefully about rainwater collection to minimise hose pipe use in the garden. The shed design also provides the option of using solar panels on the roof. Construction materials have been considered: all the wood panelling is sourced from local and sustainably managed forests and the interior insulation uses recycled paper. We particularly like the optional extension which will elongate the life of the shed when more space is required, turning it into more of a summer house or even a guest bedroom. The assembly process has been designed to be as simple as possible, requiring minimal time, effort and tools, so that it can be an easy DIY job.
Willmer emphasises that while this is a modular prefab design there are plenty of design choices for the consumer. Natural light is an important feature of the design "windows and doors can be fitted on all walls, taking advantage of views and sunlight in any number of locations", transforming the usually damp and dingy shed into a brighter environment. There are also several cladding options including lock panel, weather board, cedar shingles and timber sidings.
The idea for this project came from a private commission in the Netherlands for a garden shed which could contain a workspace / home office, sauna and be the focal point for summer garden entertainment such as BBQs and soirÃ©es. Willmer is happy that this original project developed into a eco-design project which addresses a mass consumer market and yet keeps bespoke elements of an individual client project. The Garden Shed Project is being exhibited at RÃ¶hsska Design Museum GÃ¶teborg Sweden through 2nd of June 2007. :: Syco Design