19 February 2024

Reinterpreting a hay barn into an archival studio

Located amidst the rolling pasture of Dorset are a set of agricultural hay barns that have fallen into a state of disrepair. Despite their found condition, they have considerable charm in simplicity, materiality and utilitarian character that is particularly beguiling.

We have submitted a planning application to convert these sizeable volumes into a workspace, studio, archive and collaboration suite. The design intention is to reinforce the buildings connection to the rural context, bringing plant life right up to the perimeter. Enlarged apertures will flood the interior with natural light; ideal conditions in which to draw, stitch and collate items.

The proposal involves the reorientation of the ground floor into a series of spacious open-plan rooms that gently define the steps of the archival process. A sympathetic additional material palette was chosen to elevate the structure without impeding on the existing personality. Insulative straw bale walls will be coated in a breathable lime render, resting atop a painted blockwork upstand. Timber cladding and window frames offset the otherwise textural façade, sheltered by a corrugated roof overhang.

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