A-Zero turns an English cow shed into a timber-framed family home

The glazing is arranged as a series of folding doors so the living space can be opened out to provide ventilation. Integrated guttering removes the need for overhanging eaves, minimising water run-offs that might create irregular staining of the wood. “The original organisation of the farm provided good views to the south and a sheltered courtyard to the north,” explained architect Giles Bruce. Inside, the oak frame is left exposed. The two-metre-high brick perimeter walls of the building were kept in-situ on the northern side of the site, providing a rain and wind shield for a new entrance courtyard. The pitched roof is covered in another blanket of insulation, and topped with slate tiles. A smaller guest bedroom to the side of the family space, housed in the brick structure that abuts the timber-framed building, has its own staircase and bathroom but is connected to the family home with a door. The three other bedrooms share a communal bathroom. Walls are painted white to highlight the wood, which is also used to create the bannisters, doors and flooring. A-Zero was asked to design a house for a young family moving to a rural area, who had found a site occupied by old farm buildings. The remainder of this brick side building incorporates more guest areas. “The new house works within this arrangement, glazed to the south for passive gains to the main living and dining area, and accessed via the north, away from prevailing winds.”

The designers and clients wanted to create an oak structure, but were concerned that natural wear would cause the wood to change and shrink over time, compromising the air tightness necessary to meet the low-energy requirements specified in the brief. These stepped entrances have curved walls that are also lined with strips of larch. The house occupies two thirds of the footprint of the farm’s old cow barn, creating a sheltered courtyard on one side. “Passive design played a key part in the external and internal layout, and the integration of active systems was all driven by a client desire for ‘invisible sustainability’ which very much mirrors our own approach,” said Bruce. Situated at the far end from the main staircase, the master bedroom includes a walk-in wardrobe and en-suite bathroom. A small utility room and bathroom are tucked behind the kitchen wall. Axonometric diagram – click for larger imageGround floor plan –   click for larger imageFirst floor plan – click for larger imageSection – click for larger image The ground floor is largely occupied by an open-plan living and dining area that also incorporates the kitchen and connects to a sitting room at one end. An alternative hybrid solution was developed, combining a prefabricated oak frame, 90 per cent of the old steel frame from the cow shed – finished with red paint – and layers of insulation covered with brickwork and British larch cladding.

Updated: 11.11.2014 — 01:09