Inserting a family home into a traditional czech barn
In this project, a traditional 19th century barn is converted into a family home by adding a timber structure on the inside.
The building, which is located in the Bohemian Uplands, represents an innovative and perhaps forward looking way of preserving traditional buildings and offering a contemporary living environment at the same time.
The conversion bears testimony to the work and accomplishments of our ancestors and respects the traditional fabric of the location. It also adheres to current standards of energy consumption and comfort. The task of using the building for a function not native to its typology was not seen as an obstacle but as a potential for developing a sustainable building.
Architect and clients resisted the economic constraints of this project and engaged in a building experiment. This required unorthodox solutions for the arrangement of spaces, sequence of erection, choice of materials and detail solutions that were designed to be practical rather than to conform to standards.
Some members of friends and family were urging for a new-built, surely to be a faster solution. However, the result would not offer the same quality of genius-loci, sustainability and peace.
The barn consists of 60 cm thick stone walls and lacks foundations. The desire to leave the appearance mostly untouched, combined with the necessity to insulate (external insulation would have changed the appearance entirely, internal insulation is problematic with damp walls) led to the idea to build a new building inside the old building (house inside a house).
The old stone building becomes a rain cover and a new internal timber structure serves as wind proof insulation.
A non-heated space forms in between old and new and extends the residential spaces. This space which encapsulates the entire structure – except the south facade – acts as a second coat which lowers the energy consumption of the building as well as enhancing its high temperature regulation in the summer.
In its formal appearance the timber building is also an immediate result of its concept. Special areas like the staircase are volumes extruded from an archetypically shaped house.
The new timber construction took over the structural function from the old framework which was removed after a brief period in which both structures existed side-by-side. The roof now rests upon the new addition. Removed parts were returned to the building as steps in the staircase.
Grand frameless openings are blurring the borders of the timber building and connect the Inside, the Outside and the In-between. Two large barn doors – north and south – form an organic connection with the surrounding nature.
The result is a house of changing views and perspectives: in, out and through.
Living: 132 m2
Other: 36 m2
2007 - 2012
approx. 100.000 Euro