With traditional rural roots and modern flair, the Swallowfield Barn by MOTIV Architects builds community in a rural neighborhood in Langley, BC, Canada. Built for the architect’s parents, Swallowfield Barn not only meets the needs of the farm, but also serves as a community gathering space with room for concerts, weddings, art shows, and more. The design/build project was constructed with reclaimed materials and volunteer labor (via a traditional barn raising) at a cost of just $30 per square-foot.
Located in rural Fraser Valley and surrounded by berry fields, the 355-square-meter Swallowfield Barn pays homage to the traditional barn building with its single gabled roof and use of conventional construction techniques. The barn is clad in Douglas Fir siding reclaimed from prior use as board-formed concrete formwork. A deep roof overhang with recessed lighting creates a sheltered outdoor space that seamlessly connects with the barn interior through large sliding doors.
Swallowfield Barn’s ground floor is partly used for housing livestock and other animals including cattle, pigs, sheep, chickens, cats, and barn owls; a workshop, garden shop, feed room, storage, and manger are also placed on this lower level. The upper hayloft is used as a multipurpose events space.
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“The construction process was tailored to involve the local community in its building from the ground up, in the manner of traditional barn raisings,” wrote MOTIV Architects. “The architect acted as builder for the project’s undertaking all contracting services and along with his father, coordinating specific build days with crews of up to 40 people. The frames of the roof structure were constructed completely on site and raised into place in less than 4 hours.”
Images © Ema Peter