Holidays in modern architecture

Holidays in modern architecture

Last year, not-for-profit organisation Living Architecture asked a team of talented architects to design houses to be used as holiday homes – and, as expected, the first to be completed is outstanding.

On a small hill in Suffolk sits, or rather balances, an intriguing barn, borne from a concept where ordinary people can sleep, eat and live architecture on holiday. Balancing Barn, designed by Dutch architects MVRDV, is situated by a small lake in Suffolk’s beautiful countryside. And clad in reflective metal shingles, the curious barn is a stunning addition to the landscape.

“The reason for this spectacular setting is the linear experience of nature,” explains Winy Maas from MVRDV. “As the site slopes, and the landscape with it, the visitor experiences nature first at ground level and ultimately at tree height. The linear structure provides the stage for a changing outdoor experience.

“The Barn is designed in a contextual way, it responds through its architecture and engineering to the site condition and natural setting. The traditional barn shape and reflective metal shingles take their references from the local building vernacular. In this sense the Balancing Barn aims to live up to its educational goal in re-evaluating the countryside and making modern architecture accessible.”

Balancing Barn came top in the leisure category at the Conde Nast Traveller Innovation & Design Awards for its innovative design: while half of the barn rests on the hill, the other half (seemingly precariously) hangs freely. Although architecturally sound, if you jump up and down in the overhanging half you can feel the floor shudder – a thrilling feature.

Maas said: “The cantilever represents a reaction to the serene surrounding, the Barn is a relaxed home and at the same time exciting.”

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