Address: Thorington, Halesworth IP19 9JG, UK | SUFFOLK | United Kingdom
Latitude/Longitude: 52.3136654, 1.5530369
Approaching along the 300 meter driveway, Balancing Barn looks like a small, two-person house. It is only when visitors reach the end of the track that they suddenly experience the full length of the volume and the cantilever. The Barn is 30 meters long, with a 15 meters cantilever over a slope, plunging the house headlong into nature. The reason for this spectacular setting is the linear experience of nature. As the site slopes, and the landscape with it, the visitor experiences nature first at ground level and ultimately at tree height. The linear structure provides the stage for a changing outdoor experience.
At the midpoint the Barn starts to cantilever over the descending slope, a balancing act made possible by the rigid structure of the building, resulting in 50% of the barn being in free space. The structure balances on a central concrete core, with the section that sits on the ground constructed from heavier materials than the cantilevered section. The long sides of the structure are well concealed by trees, offering privacy inside and around the Barn.
On entering the Barn, one steps into a kitchen and a large dining room. A series of four double bedrooms follows, each with separate bathroom and toilet. In the very centre of the barn the bedroom sequence is interrupted by a hidden staircase providing access to the garden beneath. In the far, cantilevered end of the barn, there is a large living space with windows in three of its walls, floor and ceiling. The addition of a fireplace makes it possible to experience all four elements on a rainy day. Full height sliding windows and roof lights throughout the house ensure continuous views of, access to and connectivity with nature.
The interior is based on two main objectives:
– The house is an archetypical two-person home, expanded in shape and content so that it can equally comfortably accommodate eight. Two will not feel lost in the space, and a group of eight will not feel too cramped.
– A neutral, timeless timber is the backdrop for the interior, in which Studio Makkink & Bey have created a range of furnishings that reflect the design concept of the Barn.
The rooms are themed. Partly pixilated and enlarged cloud studies by John Constable and country scenes by Thomas Gainsborough are used as connecting elements between the past and contemporary Britain, as carpets, wall papers and mounted textile wall-elements. The crockery is made up of a set of English classics for two, and a modern series for a further six guests, making an endless series of combinations possible and adding the character of a private residence to the home.
Client: Living Architecture
Program: A contemporary holiday house that can accommodate up to 8
Size: 210 m² floor area
Design team: Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs and Nathalie de Vries with Frans de Witte and Gijs Rikken
Co-architect: Mole architects
Landscape architect: The Landscape Partnership
Structure: Jane Wernick Associates
Interior: Studio Makkink & Bey
Artist Impressions: Gijs Rikken
Contributed by MVRDV
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