Preserving the Past to Shape the Present: The Revitalization of the Forgotten Hay Barn
The original state of BBK Studio (The Blue Bird Kitchen) in Varese, Italy, was that of an abandoned, patchwork barn. The space, defined by a truss on its longest side, measures 3.5m by 15m and is nestled between neighboring houses. Illuminated only by small windows on its north, east, and west sides, it oﬀered a unique blend of rustic charm and transitional storage. The first design step was to
reveal its original character by removing architectural changes that conflicted with its essence.
The new entrance, designed as a generous window that was originally the garage door, allows a glimpse inside. Upon entering the ground-floor studio, visitors are greeted by a bright, open, white interior. The two staircases placed one above the other along the north-facing window to otimize space, lead visitors to the main area. Constructed of white-painted metal to enhance the play of light, their reflective surfaces and perforated metal sheets intensify the interplay of natural light, bathing the entire studio in a harmonious glow.
The north-facing window, inspired by the design principles of Le Corbusier, is seamlessly integrated into the original barn structure. Through its expansive 4-meter opening, natural light enhances the space. The thoughful design of the openings and the use of perforated metal for the mezzanine creates a sense of spaciousness even though it's a one-room space. The kitchen side is flooded with
light from a full-height window that follows the geometric principles of the larger opening facing north.
On the opposite side, the focal point of the interior is the circular window with a diameter of 2 meters. It overlooks the outskirts of Varese. The "Oblo" projects the interior to the outside, creating a unique connection with the surroundings.
Original textures and traces have been preserved as a tribute to the building's history. The southern brick wall let untouched to show the evolving character of the barn. Inside, minimalism takes precedence, with white aggregate for the cement floor, white-painted OSB panels between the roof beams, and perforated white sheet metal that creates captivating geometric paterns with light.
Studio Tropicana envisioned a space that harmoniously combines the space's heritage with a contemporary vision.