An abandoned barn in ruins reconverted into a place of residence

An abandoned barn in ruins reconverted into a place of residence

Architects: ZIEGLER Antonin architect
Location: Notre-Dame-de-Bliquetuit, France
Year: 2016
Area: 2.260 ft²/ 210 m²
Photo courtesy: ZIEGLER Antonin architect

“In the Regional Natural Park of Boucles de la Seine, a barn in ruins was reconverted into a place of residence. Abandoned at the edge of the river, it used to hold the fodder for the haulage horses. Its thin weatherboarding had been worn away over time – only the timber framework remained.

A building lost in the wheat fields facing the river… In this very simple, rural context, the project intends to be just as rustic, without sophistication or details. The new shelter was built onto the existing one. A shell of zinc covers the roof and walls to conserve a monolithic, agricultural architecture with few openings.

The framework is the fundamental element of the new residence. From the outside, it remains partially visible, beneath the zinc envelope, thus conferring an incomplete aspect to the construction, as though eroded by the surrounding nature. The windows and doors are visually understated: the archetypal house is kept at bay to give rise to another kind of habitat, more in keeping with the surrounding wilderness. A lone crack that pierces the roof and walls thus gives the project the appearance of a contemporary ruin.

The patina of natural zinc that develops quickly reinforces the impression of a building that has always been there. The whole process of construction remains apparent: from the stone foundations, to the half-timbered framework, entirely visible in the interior space. The choice of interior materials expresses the same desire for rusticity as the exterior: breezeblocks, battens, exposed concrete slabs, and so on.

The half-timbered façade punctuates the view of the river and the passage of the boats, from one season to the next. The house lets in light on all sides: a single view encompasses the whole complex, from the swim spa at the northern extremity to the end of the lounge to the south against a backdrop of landscape.

The bedrooms nestled under the timberwork, like perches, in the place where the hay was stored, allow the ground floor level to be almost entirely liberated of any partitions. This large living area spanning the full surface of the house places the occupant in a position where they are surrounded by nature.”

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