Coffey Architects draws on rural barns for coastal home in Dorset

Photo of Modern Barn by Coffey Architects

London studio Coffey Architects has completed Modern Barn, a home in Dorset, UK, that mimics a cluster of timber-clad barns in order to blend in with the surrounding landscape.

Located atop a hill overlooking the Jurassic Coast World heritage site, the home replaces an old, dilapidated property with a new three-bedroom home.

Modern Barn by Coffey Architects
Modern Barn is located in Dorset

In order to have a minimal impact on views of the area, which is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Coffey Architects designed Modern Barn to have a pared-back profile finished with simple materials.

“The existing house was falling apart,” said director Michael Henricksen. “It was structurally unsound and the materials were in such bad shape, so after a rigorous assessment to retrofit first, it was decided that demolition was the right approach.”

Detail image of Modern Barn
It was designed to look like a series of barns

“The original house was a modest, one-storey timber house –  so for neighbours and for planners, it was important the new house didn’t brashly impose on the site,” he continued.

The home’s sloping site, as well as a request from the client for “autonomous” spaces, led to the home being split into three separate, barn-like forms, with living, study and sleeping spaces stepping downwards.

Photo of the facade at Modern Barn
It is a one-storey home

“We divided the house into three volumes in order to break down the scale to improve the relationship with the neighbouring buildings,” explained Henriksen.

“The three volumes also made it possible to align the floor levels with the slope of the hill which led to minimal excavation required.”

“When seen from the coast, which was an important view for the planners, the three volumes sit behind each other – this helps the house appear smaller than it is,” he continued.

An L-shaped corridor unites each block, extending westwards to frame the living, dining and kitchen area’s fully-glazed gable end, which opens onto a large, wrap-around terrace.

Interior photo of the home
The exterior was clad in slatted timber

Atop a low stone plinth, the external cladding of naturally greyed timber extends over the walls and roof of Modern Barn, concealing its guttering to create a “sharp and seamless profile.”

Oak panelling on the interiors is intended to reflect a warm light from the home’s skylights, as well as provide space for the client’s print collection.

Interior photo of a kitchen
Oak panelling lines the interior

The surrounding gardens were inspired by a masterplan by Harris Bugg Studio, and since the home’s completion, the clients have added a yurt for guests.

Other projects recently completed by Coffey Architects include the perforated aluminium-clad Norwich Technology Hub, and an office block in King’s Cross that aimed to evoke the area’s industrial history.

The photography is by Phil Coffey.

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