Big Shed

Big Sheds

How to make a Big Shed more commercially viable for your business

The term Big Sheds is a coverall for large commercial buildings that have a number of  uses: a manufacturing facility,  storage & distribution centre, climate-controlled data centre, retail space sports building or community space. Generally made from a universal set of parts – a steel portal frame wrapped in profiled metal cladding – there are new possibilities emerging in the digital design and manufacture of buildings. This has caused Designscape to re-evaluate the standard approach and challenge the industry standard approach to Big Shed design.

There are a number of key drivers behind these shifts:

Changes in technology

Changes in digital design technology (parametric modelling) and digital manufacturing are key drivers in finding a more cost and time efficient solution to Big Shed design. Parametric modelling and digital manufacturing techniques allow complex bespoke, optimised forms to be designed and made at no additional cost premium.

Commercial site availability

As suitable sites become increasingly difficult to find and the planning process becomes ever more demanding, so the concerns of sustainability, job creation and visual impact can be considered for a more positive planning outcome when proposing a Big Shed on a difficult site. A more bespoke and agile design solution can make an otherwise unviable site much more attractive. 

Cities and transport

Our cities are about to see some profound changes with the impending arrival of driverless vehicles, the requirement for clean air zones and automation of goods delivery services. As a consequence, Big Sheds are a feasible architectural solution to meet the growing needs out of town storage and freight consolidation  facilities to support growing last mile delivery networks.

Corporate identity and employee wellbeing

With building assets recognised as an important part of a company’s business strategy in an increasingly competitive global market, commissioning a Big Shed might be a practical consideration in projecting the right corporate image. Along with the increasing need to provide the ideal working conditions to both attract and retain employees, an elegant building design solution can help an organisation to help promote its CSR story.

Architecture and sustainability

A Big Shed can help address many of the issues surrounding the growing sustainability agenda – from design and materials to energy use and location.  As part of our pledge to  #Architects Declare our studio actively engages in sustainable architectural practices.


With employers mindful of the need to attract the best people, grow an internal culture that promotes productivity and create a working environment that reduces absenteeism and improves staff retention, designing a Big Shed to meet these requirements will have a positive economic impact for a business looking for a new premises.

Commercial building designed for employee wellbeing

Rethinking the big shed

If considering a new premises for your commercial business, we invite you to download a copy of our recent publication Rethinking the Big Shed which considers the key drivers to Big Shed design in more detail and explores some of our recent work in this area.

The future of big sheds

With some lateral thinking, innovation in Big Shed design can help business clients gain a competitive advantage in the commercial market place. Scarce and unusual sites can be made more viable. There are any number of commercial and economic benefits to commissioning a more agile building design to help businesses meet their longer term business objectives.

Designscape are an integral part of and foundation of our commercial projects as we look to modernise out global facilities. They understand our people and support development of the environments we need now and into the future.

Paul Hipkins, Global Project Manager, Seco Tools AB

Big Sheds can be a commercially viable business asset if well considered and designed. Here we share out insights on key drivers of Big Shed design and you can download our recent Big Sheds publication