essen farm – groningen - holland

The conversion of a barn into a large family home.

This typical Groninger barn consists of a large roofscape supported by a timber structure and low perimeter brick walls. This triple height disused space, devoid of daylight, was turned into a light, multi functional home for a family with 3 teenagers and guests.

Although not listed, the planning department took advice from an independent conservation organisation who were much opposed against changes to the existing building. But as it was agreed that change of use to residential was acceptable, changes to the fabric had to be made in order to make the barn space habitable. Although the first sensitive but more ambitious proposals were not approved, we managed to negotiate a compromise all parties were excited about.
The existing characteristic timber structure was maintained and featured, and with the help of an additional, mainly concealed steel structure, roof areas could be cut away to bring daylight into all levels of the barn and to provide views out over the green pastoral surroundings.

A white plastered volume with concrete first floor was introduced into the large roofscape to provide for bedrooms, bathrooms, studies, storage, utility etc. Between the roofscape, the timber structure and the new volume, a series of dynamic spaces were created; the double height ground floor library area along the side connects to the lower more intimate lounge area and kitchen under the first floor bedrooms. First floor bedrooms use existing windows looking out but also have new glazed openings with views onto the internal double height spaces under the barn roof.

All spaces have their own specific orientation & framed views and access to differently orientated outdoor terraces, gardens and patios, allowing inhabitants to make the most of the sun throughout the day.

A simple material palette of polished concrete, glass, steel, white render and solid oak were used to allow for the existing timber structure and unique roofscape to ‘shine’.