Life in balance

Thursday 13 Jan 2011

MVRDV completes gravity-defying home in the English countryside

The Balancing Barn is in a beautiful location in the English countryside, near Thorington in Suffolk. The building is almost unseen from the road. Approaching from the 300-metre-long driveway, the Barn appears as a small two-person house, only seven metres wide, with the pitched roof of a traditional barn. The length of the building is 30 metres, dramatically cantilevered over a descending slope.

This balancing act is made possible by the rigid structure of the building, with 50% of the barn being in free space. From the house there are wide vistas over the Suffolk landscape, adjacent lake and surrounding gardens. Planting around the Barn offers privacy inside the house and in the grounds. The exterior of the building is covered in polished stainless steel, which reflects the colours of the changing seasons.

On entering the Barn, guests arrive in the kitchen and large dining room. A series of four en-suite double bedrooms follow. Between the second and third bedroom lies a hidden staircase, emerging underneath the midpoint of the cantilever, providing access to the garden and swing beneath the Barn. At the far end of the Barn, a large living space is created with full-length windows and a spectacular glass floor to admire the drop. Here visitors are directly connected to nature, through wonderful views of the garden and surrounding landscape.

The Barn responds through its architecture and engineering to the site condition and natural setting. The traditional barn shape and reflective metal sheeting take their references from the local building vernacular. The project was completed on 5th October 2010.

Interiors designed by Studio Makkink & Bey at the Balancing Barn, MVRDV, 2010. Courtesy of Studio Makkink & Bey, MVRDV and Living Architecture


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