What will the shed of the future look like? Will it be partially – or even totally – underground? Will it take the form of a ‘shedscraper’ several storeys high? Or will it be long and thin, allowing landlords to slice and dice the space depending on occupier requirements?


To find out, Property Week set seven architecture practices a design challenge: rethink the traditional shed and create something that uses modern methods of construction, is sustainable and is future-proofed to ensure it can be serviced by fleets of drones and autonomous/electric vehicles.

Savills’ Will Cooper was astounded by the breadth of ideas and the innovation on display.

Shed of the Future - RPS

Shed of the Future - RPS’ entry

“Some designs are pretty futuristic – you could imagine them being made a reality in 10, 20 or 30 years’ time – but there are elements that could be implemented tomorrow,” says Cooper.

These elements include a greater reliance on modular construction methods and moving mezzanine and compartmental walls that allow buildings to flex depending on capacity demands.

Consideration has also been given to the anticipated greater use of AI and the ‘Internet of Things’ in industrial buildings of the future. Staff welfare is also high on  the agenda.

The greater provision of onsite amenities such as crèches, breakout areas for staff and running/cycling tracks are all expected to help occupiers attract employees as the competition for workers heats up.

You can vote for your favourite design via Property Week’s Instagram account @propertyweek, by the way.

Given the ongoing shortage of available land for industrial development, landlords and developers will increasingly have to think outside the box to meet the needs of modern occupiers. So while ideas such as the Sweetcorn and the Beehive might seem futuristic today, over the next couple of decades there is a strong possibility that these types of buildings could well replace the tried-and-trusted rectangular shed. Watch this space.

Mia Hunt is Property Week’s market reports editor