Rising architectural stars FAT have been commissioned by Elevate, the housing pathfinder and regeneration agency for East Lancashire, to design a modern 'sheep shed' to be introduced to allotments across the region.
FAT's brief is to design a small, light and cheap structure as a modern take on the garden shed, which would be distributed by councils and health organisations to encourage more people to grow their own food. No designs have yet been released but the initial concepts are expected by the end of the year.
The commission is the latest in the region for FAT; the firm has already worked on projects for Urban Splash in New Islington, Manchester, and a pavilion for Grosvenor in Liverpool One's Church Yard arcade off Church Street.
Max Steinberg, chief executive of Elevate, said the 'sheep sheds' idea was the latest being brought forward from an initial report a few years ago by Yvette Livesey and her partner the late Tony Wilson, called Dreaming of Pennine Lancashire.
The pair's suggested Pennine Lancashire brand, accompanied by a design (pictured above) by Factory Records graphic artist Peter Saville, is currently being adopted by councils and other bodies in the area.
Steinberg said: "We want the sheep shed structure to become iconic to the area like the Brighton beach huts are for people there. Hopefully, this can help bring pride back to people to work the land, as well as following today's sustainability agenda and frankly making it sexy to have an allotment."
Steinberg was speaking after the launch event for the Pennine Lancashire Squared design competition to create new public spaces in six Lancashire towns, another of the Livesey Wilson ideas.
More than 600 architectural studios from around the world have expressed interest in the competition. Steinberg said funding is being sought from English Partnerships and the North West Development Agency for the new squares with early talks over grants positive.
Shortlists of five designs per town – Burnley, Accrington, Blackburn, Bacup, Clitheroe and Nelson – will be drawn up in September.
Other ideas being explored from the Livesey Wilson report include a visitor attraction celebrating the global impact of football, the widespread distribution of music recording equipment to young people, and a 'fashion tower' facility in a joint venture with St Modwen and Hurstwood in the Weavers Triangle area.