New Dawn of Design in the Yorkshire Dales

Client: Craven District Council

On the map: Craven, North Yorkshire, UK

Core values: Rural Enhancement and Connection

Status: In progress

The story: Yorkshire’s Dales are spectacular. Sadly, many young people can’t afford to call them home. The area has 44% fewer 16 to 34-year-olds than the national average. To help tackle the problem, the RIBA launched a competition for innovative architecture that would encourage young people to stay in the Lakes and Dales. Chosen from designs submitted by architects across the UK and worldwide, our winning concept is called The Flexstead – a flexible dwelling inspired by the fluid layout of traditional local farmsteads that will give young people the freedom to create their own rural lifestyle on a budget they can afford. 

Due to be built in the village of Horton in Ribblesdale, our design centres around a generous two-storey stone shell with a pitched roof divided in two by a light well that will connect residents to their surroundings. The striking roof will also create a new local landmark visible (and Instagramable) from passing trains and nearby peaks. Inside the double height space, a simple system allows the open-plan space to be adapted to suit the owners’ evolving lifestyle with minimal cost. Designed with an ‘eco thrifty’ ethos, The Flexstead’s thermally-efficient construction will make it affordable for young people to run – a vital factor given that energy bills are considerably higher in rural areas.