Reprogramming the barn...

1920's structures brought up to date by van der Merwe Miszewski Architects

by James 22 December 2009
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    The site is located in the heart of the Franschhoek Valley, between the road into Franschhoek and the Berg river.There were two existing structures on the site; a 1920's house and a barn dating from the 18th century.The project included the re-utilisation of the barn, which is more or less centrally located on the site and is surrounded by several magnificent and ancient Oak trees. The barn and its trees become the focus of a new home, both in the programmatic and structural senses.

    The barn itself was repaired and inhabited to form the heart of the home; the living, dining and cooking spaces. The long facades are covered with verandas, one open and planted and the other covered over, replacing an existing lean-to structure.Two additional wings of accommodation have been placed adjacent to the barn (at the 'short ends') - containing bedrooms, bathrooms etc - creating an enclosed external space, the WERF.The WERF (in 2 areas, separated by a level change, an arbour and a water feature) provides private open space and motorcar access.

    The barn structure is retained as the significant built form by keeping the new adjacent structures low, with flat roofs.The primary form of the house consists of walls in the landscape - providing both habitable space as well as an ordering device for external farm space. Openings in the walls are punctured and can be closed by external shutters. Panoramic view windows (also with shutters), are located at the ends of the accommodation wings, looking out over the vineyards.A long pool separates the barn from the vineyards which, together with new paddocks, surround the new house.The owners collaborated closely with the architects on the design, and particularly so with regard to internal fit out and furniture.

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