Delivering a modern twist to local historic building practices, London-based architectural practice Bureau de Change has recently completed a new home that takes inspiration from traditional farm structures in the Cotswolds, a rural area of south central England. A pair of timber chicken sheds, nearly 100 feet long each, was used as the starting point of the design for the Long House. In addition to respecting the local rural vernacular, the thoughtfully crafted home also follows passive house principles to reduce energy use without sacrificing comfort year-round.

Located near Cirencester in Gloucestershire, England, the Long House spans approximately 5,400 square feet across three gabled volumes that have been given two different exterior treatments. The single-story volume to the front is built from stone, while the volume in the rear—split into two parts—is sheathed in natural larch that will gain a natural patina over time. The contrast adds visual richness and the materials selected will naturally develop a patina over time to blend the buildings into the surroundings.

“The front barn has been built in dry stone wall by a local craftsman, chosen not only for its local relevance but for its inherent qualities of mass and muscularity,” explains Bureau de Change Architects co-founder Katerina Dionysopoulou. “This facade is monolithic, with fewer openings to produce a heavier, solid volume at the front. As a counterpoint, the taller barn in the back is clad in lighter-weight natural larch which has been charred to a deep leathery black at each window recess. This charring has then been brushed away to gently blend it into the natural larch—creating an ombre effect which emphasizes the rhythmic push and pull of the window indentations.”

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Inside, the front volume hides an inner courtyard that’s hidden behind the elevation and serves as a light-filled focal point for the home. To meet passive house principles, the architects constructed the building with an insulated concrete formwork system to create an airtight thermal envelope. Openings are limited on the south-facing facade and triple-pane glass was installed to minimize unwanted heat gain and loss. Air quality is maintained with a heat recovery ventilation system.

+ Bureau de Change

Images by Gilbert McCarragher