The Stockport Community Shed (Men’s Shed Association), Woodley




JCT Minor Works

Value & scheme:

£100,000 Conversion of public WC’s into ‘Men’s Shed Association’ Community Building

With the help of Age UK, The ‘Men’s Shed Association’ was set up in 2017. They are an unincorporated, non-charitable voluntary group known as "The Stockport Community Shed" and are part of the UK "Men's Shed UK" movement. In January 2018 they began working closely with our client Stockport Homes, to raise their profile and attract new members. They currently hire space in a local Community Centre which limits the amount of time ‘The Shed’ can operate to 2 hours per week. Developing their own building enables them to offer all day ‘drop in access for ‘Shed’ members and enhances the variety of different social and community amenities for the local district.

Garden sheds and their activities are often solitary in nature, but ‘Men’s Shed’ is a place to pursue practical interests, develop workshop skills and enjoy making and mending at leisure, whilst sharing knowledge and forming new friendships. Some may also get involved in community projects and in turn gain a renewed sense of purpose and belonging. As a by-product, the aim is to reduce isolation and loneliness, allowing men (who typically find it more difficult to build social connections than women) to deal with mental health challenges more easily, remain independent and in turn strengthen community, improve and in some cases save men’s lives.

The ‘raison d’etre’ of this conversion design is to facilitate and develop relationships between its members by helping like-minded people meet. Therefore, by generating an open and free flowing naturally well lit workshop space, this transformed building provides relaxed and incidental opportunities for talking with someone to share your worries.

With considered simplicity, the architectural proposals re-elevate and redefine the identity of the building structure. Employing quality detailing and materials, the proposed elevations are rational and driven to respond to the pragmatic requirements and operation of ‘Men’s Shed’; yet they provide a façade which is low maintenance, durable to resisting anti-social behaviour but still enduringly progressive. This cost conscious but strikingly effective solution ‘wraps’ the existing building in timber rainscreen battens, creating a ‘hit and miss’ effect to both the walls and pitched roof. This includes large actuated rooflights which negate the need for traditional lower level windows which in turn maximise wall storage. Other modern materials such as black framed windows and corrugated black steel are deliberately contrasting and provide a 21st century reinterpretation of a modern tool shed or workshop.