For the very best in architecture, there is the Pritzker, the RIBA Gold Medal and the Shed of the Year, Where gardeners, home office workers and artists submit their sheds to voting by readers and then a final selection by jury. The wonderful thing about sheds is that they are small enough that people get to experiment in design and with technologies, so you get a mix of every material and style.
One of my favourites in the eco-shed category is author James Glave's eco-shed on Bowen Island, British Columbia. James describes it:
My Eco-Shed is "deep green" -- it is a passive-solar design that requires very little energy, and thus carbon emissions, to heat and light. We built it with 95 percent reclaimed or sustainably harvested lumber (the rafters you see supporting the roof were once part of a railroad trestle). The steel roof is configured for rainwater harvesting, the insulation is well beyond code requirements, the foundation uses low-fly-ash concrete, and we used innovative framing techniques on the north wall to lessen heat loss. The building also includes a heat-recovery ventilation system, highly efficient lighting and plumbing fixtures, and it is surrounded by an organic food-garden-in-progress.
James Glave has been on TreeHugger before: Forget the 100 Mile Diet, Try the 100 Yard Diet: Grow Your Own Bread
There is a lot to learn from these sheds, some real skill and imagination. Some are professionally designed, but most are architecture without architects in the purest sense. I will try to pick out some of the more interesting ones over the next few weeks, but check them out and vote at We Heart Sheds.