Living Architecture began with a desire to shift the perceptions of modern architecture. Whilst there are many great examples of modern architecture in Britain, these are usually public places that we pass through and the few cutting edge homes that exist are private properties not to be explored by the general public. Living Architecture believe that everyone should have the chance to live, eat and sleep in a space designed by outstanding architects and they have spent recent years building a contemporary property portfolio across Britain, all of which are available for holiday rentals throughout the year. Built using exceptional materials and technologies, each of the locations have been meticulously designed for aesthetic delight & comfort and one of the most intriguing properties is The Balancing Barn in Suffolk.
Located on a site previously called Church Farm, the area was originally owned by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust, and contained a 1950’s bungalow, garage and a selection of derelict buildings and barns before Dutch design firm MVRDV were brought in by Living Architecture to transform the space. Due to the protected nature of the land, the utmost care was taken to remove any endangered species in the area and after a large number of non-local overgrown cypress trees were removed the true potential of the site was revealed.
MVRDV whilst internationally renowned had never built a property in the UK and this opportunity gave them the chance to bring their intelligent, sensitive and playful designs to British soil. The site was on two levels, a feature the firm wanted to accentuate and after considering many different options it was decided the balancing structure was the only option for the gravitas they required. The 15 metre cantilever is exactly half of the full length of the building and was built with the assistance of Jane Wernick Associates with the steel structure required to suspend the building hidden inside. Hints of the extensive structural elements are visible outside through the barn’s windows, giving a glimpse of the timber lined interior which folds around the steel beams.
Designed to give the feel of suspension over the natural environment of the area, this concept is reinforce by the barn’s glass floor and ceiling in the living room, allowing an uninterrupted view of the Suffolk countryside. Both the interior and exterior have been finished with one material to give The Balancing Barn a continuous ‘skin’ with polished stainless steel coating the entire outer surface and reflecting the natural surroundings. The ash lined interior is a warm contrast to the outer design and is only punctuated by alcoves or cupboards. MVRDV’s intention was to return the area to a natural meadow to encourage the return of local animals, insects and flowers and the barn’s positioning on the same trajectory of the tree-lined approach even allows visitors to take in the natural landscape before its theatrical 30 metre length is exposed.
The Balancing Barn’s interior has been designed by Studio Makkink & Bey in conjunction with MVRDV and Living Architecture, with the majority of internal elements from furniture to lighting sourced from celebrated Dutch designers. The strong Dutch theme is juxtaposed with the occasional pictorial reference to the English countryside inspired by the works of John Constable and Thomas Gainsborough. These pieces have been deconstructed to resemble the art of Piet Mondrian making every example a literal fusion of classic Dutch modernism and traditional English art.
With four bedrooms, The Balancing Barn sleeps up to eight people and allows you to immerse yourself in contemporary design amongst the British countryside. For more information on the unique property and to book a stay in late 2015 & 2016 visit the Living Architecture website.