Balancing Barn

Balancing Barn is situated on a beautiful site by a small lake in the English countryside near Thorington in Suffolk. The Barn responds through its architecture and engineering to the site condition and natural setting. The traditional barn shape and reflective metal sheeting take their references from the local building vernacular“, explained by the architect.

The Balancing Barn aims to live up to its educational goal in re-evaluating the countryside and making modern architecture accessible. Furnished to a high standard of comfort and elegance, set in a quintessentially English landscape, it engages its temporary inhabitants in an experience.

The first expression that the Balancing Barn gives is a small house and only at the end of the track the full length of the volume and the cantilever are visible. The Barn is 30 meters long, with 15 meter 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 the visitor experiences nature first at ground level and ultimately at tree height. The linear structure provides the stage for a changing outdoor experience.

Photography of Edmund Sumner

Photography of Edmund Sumner

At its midpoint, the Barn begins to cantilever over the descending slope, a balancing act made possible by the rigid structure of the building, resulting in 50% of the barn hanging freely in 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 in and around the Barn“, described MVRDV.

Photography of Edmund Sumner

Photography of Edmund Sumner

The Barn’s metal facade reflects its natural surroundings and the changing seasons. On entering, one steps into a kitchen and a large dining room. In the inside, it consists of four double bedrooms, each with separate bathroom and a toilet. In the very center of the barn, the bedroom sequence is interrupted by a hidden staircase providing access to the garden beneath. In end of the barn, is a large living space with windows in three of its walls, floor and ceiling. Full height sliding windows and roof lights throughout the house ensure continuous views of, access to and connectivity with nature. The Barn is highly insulated, ventilated by a heat recovery system and heated by a ground source heat pump, resulting in a highly energy efficient building.

Photography of Edmund Sumner

Photography of Edmund Sumner

Project Information:
Architect : MVRDV
Location : Thorington, Suffolk, UK
Project Year : 2010
Project Area : 210 square meters
Client : Living Architecture
Design Team : Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs, Nathalie de Vries, Frans de Witte, Gijs Rikken

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