A radical retrofit undertaken by the architects of MOOARCH turned a 15th century stone barn into a contemporary light filled home on the foggy island of Guernsey. The British island, just off the Normandy Coast, has exceptionally mild weather, but sunshine is rarely in the cards. The retrofit and addition of the old stone building was infused with glass to encourage the meek natural light to penetrate the living space, creating a more comfortable space year round. With a bold modernist addition, and open and cheery converted living space, the La Concha House is a thoughtful and innovative approach to upgrading an existing stone building of another age.
What is striking about the home is how well the old and the new have been integrated. Relying on modern glass and old stone walls, the fusion creates a mix of hard and soft, and the result is an open, light filled environment. The old barn was converted to the main living space, with formal dining and the kitchen below, and a recreation space in the loft above. A double height window slides to the side like a barn door, opening the dining space directly to the garden. The slate roof was opened at the peak for skylights to run the length of the ceiling. While all this overhead glass would be a disaster in most regions — from extra cold winters to overheating during summer — Guernsey Island’s unusually temperate climate averages 46 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year, mitigating the problem.
The glass laden space is most evident in the addition, which is approached through a glass floor and bridge. The bedrooms and bath share a wall, which is not much more than a glass curtain overlooking the backyard. The relationship of the transparency of the glass and the thick field stone walls that bookend the space create a satisfying tension within the design.