David Nossiter Architects breathed new life into a collection of decrepit farm buildings that had been laid to waste after a ruinous fire in the 1950s. The skillful renovation transformed the barn buildings into a contemporary dwelling, one that preserves the existing rural forms but also retrofits them with high-performance systems for energy savings. The project, named the Church Hill Barn, is nestled between the English counties of Suffolk and Essex and makes use of local and salvaged materials.
The focal point of the Church Hill Barn renovation project is the large barn with cathedral-like proportions that overlooks an outdoor courtyard. The architects refurbished the roof to improve thermal performance while keeping the timber trusses exposed. The external larch-clad walls were insulated with sheep’s wool. While not all of the farm buildings could be renovated—some were ruined beyond repair—the architects salvaged roofing slates and timber materials from the structures.
The renovated building’s original openings were preserved and set with glazing and, combined with roof lights and floor-to-ceiling glazing, bring in large amounts of natural light that fill the eight-meter-tall central spaces. The original brick wall and timber materials are complemented by polished concrete flooring used throughout the home. The various spaces are kept as open-plan as possible, with private areas separated by freestanding birch-faced plywood sheets. Underfloor heating powered by a biomass boiler, as well as a mechanical ventilation and heat recovery system, minimize energy use.
Images via David Nossiter Architects