Old Shed New House, North Yorkshire

Architects Tonkin Liu have transformed a former agricultural building into ‘Old Shed New House’ - a multi-award winning, energy-efficient, cost-effective home, in which VELFAC windows combine with specialist glazed units to deliver what RIBA has described as ‘a masterclass in the curation of daylight’. ‘Old Shed New House’ was awarded the 2018 RIBA Stephen Lawrence Prize, and was also named one of Dezeen’s ‘top 10 British architecture projects of 2018’.


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‘Old Shed New House’ is a comfortable, three bedroom home centred around an impressive library and long gallery space. Generous glazing is strategically placed across all facades and into the roof, including coupled VELFAC composite frames and triple glazed windows, with both clear and etched finishes to the glass, installed alongside specialist fixed and sliding glazed elements.

‘We regularly specify VELFAC for our projects as it is a cost-effective, well-designed system that functions efficiently, with a frame that integrates seamlessly with the building fabric,’ says architect Greg Storrar. Both components of the aluminium / timber VELFAC frame are finished in white, ‘to suit an aesthetic based on the forest of silver birch trees that wrap around the site,’ says Greg.

Internal white painted timber frames also echo white doorframes, shelving and other details which contrast with pale grey walls and polished concrete floors. Externally, white aluminium frames complement a facade clad in varying widths of galvanised steel fins and rough-sawn, shot-blasted larch.

Tonkin Liu opted for coupled VELFAC units to generate large glass areas, with slim VELFAC frames bringing generous natural light into living spaces, bedrooms and bathrooms. The windows also help connect the house with its immediate landscape, framing views of both the agricultural landscape and of the trees that were such an important influence on the design:

‘We initially considered combining inward and outward opening windows installed adjacent to each other,’ comments Greg, ‘but after talking to the VELFAC team we installed units which both open outwards, with one unit installed behind timber cladding louvres and with restricted opening to allow generous and secure night time ventilation.’

Praised for its innovative design and high quality finish – despite a relatively modest budget – ‘Old Shed New House’ has attracted significant praise since it was completed. As well as the Stephen Lawrence Prize, the project has won many other accolades including the RIBA Yorkshire and RIBA Yorkshire – Small Project of the Year Awards 2018, and the AJ 2018 Retrofit Award.


Sector: Retrofit – agricultural shed to new home

Architect: Tonkin Liu

Specified for:

  • Good design
  • Cost-effective pricing
  • Seamless exterior
  • Slim frames – maximum daylight
  • Technical support