Monday, March 31, 2008

Inflatable concrete shedworking

Pontypridd-based Concrete Canvas have developed a fantastic thing called Concrete Cloth - simply add water to the material and it goes rock hard, is strong, durable, waterproof and fireproof. As an example of what you can do with it, they've turned them into shelters - the 16m2 one can be set up by two people without any training in under 40 minutes and is ready to use in only 12 hours so it's great for catastrophe zones. There's lots more information - in remarkably plain English - on the site explaining in more depth how it's done. And they're not the only ones. Researchers at Kassel University are doing something remarkably similar (pictured below).
Via designboom and core77

Kithaus and the Big Sur

Kithaus (which we've covered before has added lots of great new images to its web site and a whole new range of pavilions which are really rather nice. Above is a Kithaus K3 model recently erected in impressive surroundings in Big Sur, California.
Via MoCo Loco

RHS Chelsea Flower Show preview

It doesn't look like being a classic year for garden offices at Chelsea 2008 (although designs do change quite dramatically). Here though is a rundown of shedworking atmospheres to look out for. First the show gardens. Above is Real Life by Brett Landscaping in association with Geoffrey Whiten, a garden themed around adaptability and sustainability aiming to provide a flexible outdoor space for everyday living which incorporates what they call "a flexible, adaptable building". Below is A Forest Within the Chaos of a City designed by Shao Fan which introduces an original modern Chinese garden including traditional buildings.Below is Summer Solstice by del Buono Gazerwitz, an organic agrarian garden featuring a 'state of the art' green-roofed building with solar panels, reclaimed timber and Cotswold stone.Next is Leeds City Council's The Largest Room in the House by Denise Preston including a replica of the wooden summer house at Talbot House, Poperinghe near Ypres.In the Urban Gardens, look out for The Sky at Night by Barry Mayled, a rooftop garden for an astronomer with a shedlike building incorporating a sliding roof.Finally, in the Courtyard Gardens section, what looks to be one of the loveliest of the lot from the Uchiyama Landscape Construction Company, Princess Moon – East Wind II by Koji Ninomiya. It's inspired by a traditional Japanese fairy story about a bamboo cutter.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Embroidered House - Greer Honeywill

Embroidered House is part of Against The Grain by Greer Honeywill which explores the dwelling space between art and craft. It's build of marine ply, mild steel, varnish, and light, measuring 136 x 150 x 56cm. More interesting shedlike art from Greer here.
Spotted by Bill Kratz.

Bookshelf is The Scotsman's Website of the Week

Obviously a paper (and journalist) of fine taste, Lee Randall of The Scotsman has chosen Shedworking's baby sibling Bookshelf as their Website of the Week. Here's what Lee says:
"Perhaps the best thing about the internet is its appeal to fetishists of every description. So here's one for everyone out there whose house is being overtaken by books (hey, it's a good thing!) ... a blog entirely devoted to the storage of same. Yes, boys and girls, someone's devoted an entire blog to the subject of shelving, and how interesting it is! Who knew you could get bookshelves in the shape of cats ogling birds with evil intent? Or shelves that look like coat hangers? Or shelves that look as though they're made of other books? Or – oh my god! – books that are actually stairs? It's like we died and went to library heaven!"

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The rise of the barbecue hut

A great piece in The Daily Telegraph by Adam Edwards looks at how "taking luncheon in a bespoke hut suddenly become all the rage". Here's a snippet:
"This spring the Prince of Wales, for one, has applied for planning permission to have a bespoke oak hut built at his Gloucestershire estate at Highgrove. The timber-frame company, Border Oak, in nearby Herefordshire, is producing open-sided oak gazebo barbecue huts that are selling well to the gentry. ''One well-heeled customer bought two - one for his terrace and the other for the end of his garden,'' says company spokesman Ben Albright."
Namechecks for four specialist barbecue hut companies: Logspan (whose 9.9m2 hut is pictured above and who also offer garden office models); Border Oak; Barbecue Lodges (whose Moose model is pictured below) and BBQ Huts. To which Shedworking would add the Anglo Igloo.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Weedon Pavilion - Gossens Bachman

Something lovely for the weekend - the Weedon Pavilion (AIA Vermont Excellence in Architecture Award) by Gossens Bachman, a semi-enclosed structure at the pond edge for reading, napping, meditation and wildlife viewing as well as serving as a "launch platform" for boating and swimming on the pond. GB say: "The structure was to be honest in material and craft and a reflection of the client's interest in Japanese design."Thanks to Bill Kratz.

Choosing a shed - inhus

Paul Raven from Suffolk-based inhus has been in touch to tell Shedworking about the company's range of garden offices which was born from a need to find a company that could supply an modern garden office that came complete with all the works to run a normal office and enhance the garden. Here's what Paul says:
"So having got seriously frustrated we decided (as our main business is working on 3D cad systems) that we would design and manufacture our own building: this is a modular based wall/ceiling assembly and can be erected and supplied within 3/5 days including the red western cedar cladding. We have opted to use a faced melamine MDF board for the interior walls so not to use “wet” trades like plastering - this eliminates cracking.

"The inhus uses a roof material called EPDM or Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer, a synthetic rubber material made by Firestone. We have chosen this to guarantee a watertight roof for 25 years. The EPDM is a one piece roof sheet that means no joins, no nails, no tears, no leaks, no maintenance, this means you can sleep safely at night in any weather. Using the EDPM system we can also offer an Eco-friendly green roof system. The building is also fully insulated from the floor, walls and ceilings. We are using a UPVc 28mm double glazing, however wood / aluminum alternatives can be offer including bi-folded doors system should the customer require."

Bookshelf blog featured in The Guardian

Shedworking's first spin-off site Bookshelf gets a nice mention on The Guardian's online books blog where Lindesay Irvine very kindly calls it "beguiling" and adds: "Though anybody with more than a few books is going to need a pretty gigantic home to make these shelves in any way practical, I'm sure I'm not the only one who comes over all covetous when looking at the elegance of the objects."

Around the shedworld

When will we see the first cardboard garden offices, asks Treehugger?... The Independent meets the pioneers who are living off-grid... Inhabitat wonders when we'll be painting solar panels onto our sheds... So does Swansea University... Home Office Warrior is after tips for dealing with home office distractions... OneSmallProject is inspired by shedlike living conditions in the working class neighbourhoods of the world... James Glave answers some infrequently asked questions about his Eco-Shed (pictured above)... Here's the place to go for A Quiet Sit Down...The Daily Telegraph has lots of ideas for improving your house in the garden... Stu's Shed is talking about a possible shed expansion... Where is Roberg finds a shed with a view... Judit Bellostes likes the look of the glass and steel of Café Bravo (pictured below)...

Thursday, March 27, 2008


SpareSpace is a nifty highly portable shedworking structure designed by crate furniture specialist Jack Brandsma. Essentially, these are mobile work units which can be folded up and easily transported wherever you like.
Via dezeen

Thursday Outhouses - The Outhouse Gallery

The Outhouse Gallery is run by Don Ponder who quite rightly says: "The outhouse served but one purpose in life. Yet one can believe that more creative thoughts and future plans were conceived in this one small building than in any other building of its time." Don has put together a fine collection of outhouses, both illustrated and photographic, on his site as well as his thoughts about the importance of these minimalist shedlike atmospheres. Well worth a browse. The outhouse above, photo by B Hopper, is in south-central Alaska between Sutton and Chickaloon near Fish Lake on a rise above the Matanuska River near the owner's cabin. Below, photos by R. Biggs and M. Sands, is an outhouse built in the late 1870s. As Don says:
"This outhouse was built in the late 1870's. Originally, it was attached to a two-story building that had a business on the first floor and an apartment on the second. Each floor had its own seat, but the one on the top floor sat farther back. Its chute was hidden from the first floor by a false wall."

Studios - fernlund + logan

Two nice studios from New York architects fernlund + logan. First (exterior above and interior below, photos by Christoph Kicherer) the Sag Studio, Guilford, CT. Here's what they say:
"The studio was built at the wooded end of a 1-acre lot, belonging to an old, federal-style house. The building is approached by a winding path from the garden and through the trees. By submerging the studio in a natural slope, the building's presence in the landscape has been minimized. The interior reveals unexpectedly high ceilings and a large north-facing skylight, which brings the tree canopy and sky into the room. Glass doors facing east and south frame selected views of trees and wetlands. The wood-clad exterior, painted gray and combined with lead-coated copper roofing, results in a building that recedes into its surroundings."
And below (photos by Solveig Fernlund) Studio, Guilford, Connecticut. Here's what they say:
"The house originally designed by Tony Smith in the 50's consists of a main building, a guesthouse on stilts accessible from a ramp and a swimming pool built around a rock that marks the high point on the coast. A studio / utility building has been added to the site replacing a derelict structure in the hillside. It consists of a structure of cast-in-place reinforced concrete following the contour lines of the hill with only 3 feet of the back wall and roof visible from the main building. No exterior or interior finishes have been added and a planted "green roof" integrates the structure to the garden. A cantilevered walkway serves as an outdoor corridor connecting the two separate functions of studio and mechanical room."
Another nice spot by Bill Kratz.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

It's my birthday!

A shed-related present to the first person to guess how old I am...
Shed cake courtesy of Lindyscakes

Children Need Sheds Too - The Playhouse Company

The Playhouse Company has a wide range of shedlike atmsopheres for children. Pictured left for example is a play castle with two towers, a storage shed on the right hand side and a play castle on the left hand side.And of course there are more traditional designs such as the Teddy Bear's Cottage, left, a white cottage style playhouse with wooden cedar shingles on the roof, a scalloped ridge board and scalloped facia boards.

The Green Workplace blog

The Green Workplace describes itself as 'The leading blog for those who design, manage or occupy green workplaces. We are architects, environmentalists, policy makers, and activists sharing ideas together and finding creative solutions to difficult problems. It's about space, technology and changing behavior from "business as usual" to a whole new way of thinking about work. Let's change the world! One great idea at a time." Though not specifically aimed at shedworkers and other species of homeworkers, it does feature us regularly and always has plenty of interesting pieces such as this one:
"Did you know that the energy required to fuel your car and commute to work is actually greater than the energy required to heat and cool the building you are working in? A presentation last week by the California Climate Commission, Carbon Currency: The ROI of Going Green, showed that operating energy uses for the average office building in California was 72 KBTU per square feet per year. The energy required to commute to the average office building in California was 127 KBTU per square feet per year."

Special homeworking housing reports on a new scheme to build low-cost housing dedicated to homeworkers in the former St Hilda’s area of Middlesbrough. It says:
"The units will be specifically designed for homeworking and plugged into the Boho zone’s advanced digital facilities, including superfast 100meg broadband and a “render farm” - a bank of big brain computers used to upgrade special effects and animation from a studio desktop to broadcast quality."
Teesside is trying to position itself as a digital media hub. Well worth a browse.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Henry Brown from shed24 - design and concept development for exhibitions, retail spaces, and museums - has been in touch to share some of his shedworking atmospheres. He writes:
"We have been experimenting with techniques of ship and aircraft construction, crates, flat packing, and the use of sheet materials, with the aim of building cheap, lightweight structures that can be easily adapted, resulting in the ‘shed-o-matic’ series [pictured above]. S410 and S322 are collaborations with industry to explore versions of the classic ‘static’ - factory built, self contained and which might become plug-in home extensions, retail spaces, garden offices, coastguard huts ....

"We’ve also been talking to individual clients about bespoke home office units, formed from reclaimed materials and being site specific solutions. We are currently collating our collection of images to form the sb(x)e web site (small building (experimental) establishment). The collection celebrates un-designed, artless, accidental, improvised and banal small structures and spaces from around the world. Shed24 also design exhibitions. "
There are plenty of interesting designs on the shed24 web site including a design for the garden office project pictured below.

Mobile shedworking: Westfalia Verdier Solar Power

Here's a nice mobile shedworking space, the new Westfalia Verdier Solar Power which has solar panels, a GPS to calculate the optimal position for your solar panels, and an on-board wi-fied computer. Other features include a pneumatic suspension, a sliding half-door on the passenger side with integrated folding staircase (one for materialicious' stair porn list?), and a swivel cooking range which mean you can cook outside as well as inside.A Bill Kratz spot.

Beach Hut Tuesday - Rowena Cade

A unique beach hut built by Rowena Cade who founded the Minack Theatre which contains two small rooms and a staircase.
Via Cornwall 365

Monday, March 24, 2008

Sheds as art - Scott Peterman

It's been snowing at Shedworking HQ this Easter weekend so here's something atmospherically chilly to keep the mood going.
"Over the past seven winters, Scott Peterman has photographed ice-fishing shacks in the lakes region of Maine and New Hampshire. Built for entirely utilitarian purposes, these ad hoc structures illustrate a primal narrative of shelter, food, warmth, and the ongoing battle against the caprices of nature. Made with lightweight, windproof materials, such as sheet metal, foam insulation, plastic, and wood, their architecture is simple and unrefined, yet constructed with surprising ingenuity and grace. With a typological approach and sensitive eye, Peterman recontextualizes the temporary, vernacular shacks as art objects. Photographed in the elements of rain, fog, and snow – when the light is filtered and the color range narrowed – they become mysterious and transcendent as they rise out of the atmosphere and invite us to contemplate their unintended beauty."
Charles A Harman Fine ArtAnd Scott Peterman's own site. Spotted by Bill Kratz.

Choosing a shed - Squirrel Designs

Wiltshire-based and family-run Squirrel Design - David and Sarah Trotter - design and build bespoke garden offices but are also specialists in tree houses, all timber from sustainable, managed woodland sources. There are lots of enticing photos of treehouse construction on the site (don't be deterred if you don't have a large tree in your garden - they can use discreet support legs and can build around smaller trees).

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sheds for goats and dogs

We've featured some nice shedlike homes for birds and cats recently and here are two more animal sheds. Above is David Johnson's Goat tower in Illinois (at 31ft he claims it is the highest in the world) as featured by The Folly Fancier who also points to the marvellous Ohio Barns site which must be one of the finest collections of barn and barnlike builds on the interweb. And below, as featured on the intriguing Reclaimed Home ('low impact housing and renovation options for thrifty New Yorkers') is a Canine Cave from Scottie's Fine Art Caves. Here's what they say about them:
"Believing that form should follow function, our Canine Fine Art Caves are designed first and foremost to maximize the level of comfort, security, privacy and peace of mind for your friend. Once these requirements have been met in the design process, they are incorporated into the physical structure, which is then shaped and reshaped until the artist’s vision is fully realized. All Canine Fine Art Caves then go into a dormant state where they are allowed to cure and de-stress. After a thorough fine-tuning session and the adornment of Scottie’s Badge of Honour, they are finally allowed to leave the studio."

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Roberts Street Chaplets project - mobile studios

Shedworking Scout Bill Kratz points up the Roberts Street Chaplet, above, to provide a little spiritual flavour this Easter weekend amid the blitz of chocolate bunnies. According to its designer Joel Davy:
"The elemental form of the gable roof on a simple cuboid is intended to create a structure that lies somewhere between a small temple and a simple farm building. Steel post-and-beam construction along with the gridiron translucent plastic infill panels gives the chaplet a Japanese character. The 8'x12' interior is experienced as three separate spaces: the entry, the painting alcove, and the seating alcove."
More lovely photos, including this interior below, by Lonnie Laffen at the architecture-page site.The chaplet is one in a series of six (others are pictured below - more details at the very well-documented project site here) commissioned by artist Marjorie Schlossman to exhibit her work which was inspired by each specific build. She says:
"These spaces, and the art within them, are designed to provide people with a moment’s respite from daily life, whether that moment is used to contemplate, pray, mourn or celebrate."
Check out the film of the project too.

Zaum - Surfacer

Is this what shedworking without any kind of shedlike atmosphere looks like? An intriguing design from Zaum. Here's what they say about it:
"the concept: a system to create dematerialized environments, providing surfaces in the most convenient places to accommodate activities. being just one surface that bends to perform both structural and functional requirements simultaneously, it is effective in use with a minimum material, creating a functional and aesthetic whole. 'surfacer' is a 100% recyclable product, made of Parapan and suitable for both inside and outside use."
Their work also features on Bookshelf.
Via My Urban Garden Deco Guide

Salvage Shed

Cynthia Smith at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum site profiles the Salvage Shed, another fine example of how shedlike atmospheres have become extremely useful post Hurricane Katrina: this one successfully reuses material from the thousands of demolished houses as she explains:
"The results have been well received by the clients. Matt Abel was hiding tools in the woods while he built his home, now he has a place to safely store them. Billy Ray Raine, a senior volunteer coordinator, a fisherman will have a working unit to clean and provide food for his family. In both cases the rooms met the exact needs of the clients. As examples of successful re-use of salvaged materials the sheds showcase alternative solutions to the purchase new materials. The sheds are simple, economical solutions using local materials to solve the immediate and pressing needs for the multitude still waiting for relief."
Another fine Bill Kratz spot.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Around the Easter shedworld

The Telework Journal blog has a good roundup of homeworking news... Veg Plotting has a bird problem... Chief Home Officer is in exercise mood and also suggests how to avoid isolation... A Nice Green Leaf highlights the Spider Plant's attractions for shedworkers... Adventures In Home Working asks/predicts if 2009 is the year of desktop video conferencing?... Pete Connolly brightens up his garden office... Dwell blog looks at nice partitions for your shed... Will Plantware ever grow a shed?... My Urban Garden Deco Guide enjoys some outdoor saunas, hammams and spa cabins... Dr Kathryn Ferry tells all about beach huts at Shedblog...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Confessional - Cathy de Monchaux

Cathy de Monchaux's Confessional is built of copper, steel, glass, limestone and leather. According to Cathy, she wanted to build something which was a sculpture, but only complete when people entered it and started talking inside. The Cass Sculpture Foundation which showcases the work says:
"Her reflective method of working has resulted in a building that is simple, assured and which looks from the outside to be a place without pretension, but with strength of line and solidity of form... Like most of de Monchaux's work, Confessional is secretive: it hints at comfort - here is a place to rest, to recline and to converse. It is quiet inside, away from the hustle of the crowd, but you could easily damage your hand on the spikes which are part of repeated hand shapes forming the decorative screen. The screen itself is a metaphor for all that confuses communication. Is my truth your truth? Do you understand me? Do I know you?"
The screen, pictured below, is a fretwork of rusting steel.