Despite what’s popularly shown, not all farmhouses need to follow the traditional gabled look. London-based IPT Architects designed Howe Farm, a contemporary take on farmhouses located on a 9.5-hectare farm in Buckinghamshire, UK. Clad in charred timber, the award-winning project uses modern construction techniques to create an energy-efficient, airtight envelope that also complements the rural landscape.
The single-story Howe Farm was given planning approval as an “agricultural worker’s dwelling.” To complete the project as swiftly as possible, the architects constructed the building with highly efficient structurally insulated panels (SIPs). Vertical strips of dark timber clad the exterior, a design decision inspired by its neighboring creosoted agricultural buildings. The boards are spaced apart to create a slatted, rib cage-like fence on parts of the wrap-around deck and on the accessible rooftop’s angular balustrade. The slatted boards add texture to the design and gently transition the building’s form into the sky.
In contrast to the dark facade, the building’s recessed framing and covered terrace is lined with a warmer and lighter toned timber. The terrace’s light timber flooring is continued into the interior, which is mostly finished with white surfaces. Large recessed sliding windows punctuate the buildings to let in natural light and frame views of the idyllic rural surroundings.
By using modern construction methods and SIPs, the architects were able to significantly reduce construction time and minimize waste. An air-source heat pump and a log-burning stove are used to heat the building. “This project was a successful response to the challenging brief, built on time and budget,” write IPT Architects. “This has created a quality living environment that is sympathetic to its immediate and wider context.”
Images via IPT Architects