It's voting time in the Shed of the Year competition

shed of the year
Screen capture Readershed

It’s Shed of the Year time, when we look at the entries to the British competition that is now in its tenth year and has attracted almost three thousand entries. This year they have added a new category; Uncle Wilco writes:

The finalists comprise of the top four sheds in eight categories including Eco, Pub & Entertainment, Workshop & Studio, Cabin & Summerhouse, Historic, Unexpected, Budget and for the first time ever, #NotAShed following requests from shed fans across the nation to celebrate those extraordinary creations that go beyond the traditional definition of a ‘shed’.

Actually, for many years I have been wondering what the traditional definition of a shed actually was, thinking that many of the entries in the past were #NotAShed. And I always thought that there should be some kind of separation between the architect-designed posh sheds and the hand-built-by-salt-of-the-earth types, the archetype being my favourite, Alex Holland’s winner from 2013.

Being TreeHugger, we mainly cover the eco-shed category, all of which this year are in the posh More than £1000 price range. And frankly, they are not very eco, either.

Wai Ming Ng© Wai Ming Ng

There is not a lot of info on the site in the poshest of them all, the Cork Shed. However Kim covered it in TreeHugger recently; it is a lovely shed working space for a musician and a seamstress, designed by Surman Weston. “Surrounded on three sides by brick, the cork skin will allow the 139-square-foot timber-framed structure to weather well and blend in seamlessly with its surroundings, in addition to providing thermal and sound insulation.”

Hobbit House - Eco Shed from Bottom of the garden #shedoftheyear

It's made of wood, stone, cob and straw. We tried hard to be eco friendly, reuse materials and source them locally. We were donated the Windows, the 5 tons of clay was waste from our local brick works and a lot of the wood was off cuts from the saw mill destined for the fire.

OK, that's green, but this is no shed, it is even described as a summer house. It's BIG.

The Sheep Shed - Eco Shed from Barley Field in Aberdeenshire, Scotland! #shedoftheyear

The Sheep Shed is a romantic bolthole bothy for couples to get away from the stress of every day life. There is a luxurious king size double bed on a mezzanine which has a star gazing window and benefits from fabulous views through the glass gable end onto our glorious countryside. There is a wood fired range for heating, hot water and cooking and solar panel for lighting and phone charging.

Other than the solar panel and the wool insulation, what's eco? It was built in a shop and transported to site, it looks super comfy, but with full bathroom and kitchen, I think pushes the definition of both eco and shed.

Wee Tower - Eco Shed from in the Woolands next to Cottage, Ardgour #shedoftheyear

At least this shed builder tries to explain what eco is:

Eco to me is more than just using thoughtful materials and local crafts, sustainability is also about bringing people to our fragile rural community, and sharing it in the best possible way. I wanted to add 'something' to our cottage that made the very most of its situation all year round whilst sticking to our green, luxury ethos.

So this year in the eco-shed finalists, we have a very jazzy home office, a house and two airBnB units. None particularly stands out as eco and I am not sure how many of them can really be considered sheds. No wonder Uncle Wilco never invited me back to be a judge again.

Tardis - Pub/Entertainment from Tunstall, Stoke on trent #shedoftheyear

But this is the best Tardis Shed they have shown yet;

Letsby Avenue Police Station - Historic from Garden #shedoftheyear

And the historic sheds are really interesting.

Team Unlimbited - Workshop/Studio from Garden #shedoftheyear

And this one is absolutely extraordinary, a workshop full of 3D printers where Stephen Davies produces prosthetic hands and arms for children around the world. It gets my vote for Shed of the Year.

Welcome to mission HQ of Team Unlimbited. I was born with only one hand. When I saw the number of children that had no access a poor choice or were unable to afford an artificial arm, I knew I had to do something. I had a need to help. We design, print, build and deliver 3d printed hands and arms to children completely free. I built and modified this standard 8x6 wooden shed on a budget, which was built out of necessity when our third (unexpected) baby came along leaving space at a premium in the house. Contained within this small space are my 3d printers, computer and all the tools & materials needed to build our arm, which we designed to be low tech, inexpensive, look fantastic, and easy to make.

Vote today at Readershed.

Tags: Design Competitions | Less Is More

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