Barn House Eelde by Aat Vos + Aequo

Barn House Eelde by Aat Vos + Aequo

Architects: Aat Vos + Aequo
Living Space: 320 sqm
Contractor: Buiteveld, Oosterwolde
Steel Construction: Graafstra, Oosterwolde
Interior: Linthorst, Lunteren
Landscape Architect: Eric van der Kooij
Photography: Erik Hesmerg, Jan Bartelsman
Location: Eelde, The Netherlands

The task of conceiving a private home in the countryside south of Eelde raises the question as to how far the existing typology is suitable, without resorting to historicising architecture. This local typology is strongly determined by the simple Drenthe barn: straightforward, at a right angle to the road axis, centred in the countryside, without a privacy layer, functional, a single construction layer with roof. Farms fitting this description have already existed for centuries.

Due to the departure of farmers from the countryside and the arrival of urban dwellers with a desire for space, many old farms are being used as and reconverted into residential farms, without altering this typology. However, at the moment that the need for replacement development arises for this new function, the question comes up whether or not a private home can be conceived within this traditional description by incorporating modern-day demands with comfort, privacy, and a subtle transition from exterior to interior.

The design of the Barn House Eelde responds to this by, on the one hand, embracing the classical typology and, on the other hand, developing the new living demands. A layer of wooden blinds covers both interior and exterior spaces: A house is situated within a wooden barn. By creating covered exterior spaces at essential positions within this layer, a subtle transition from interior to exterior is created (ensuring privacy and comfort), without abandoning the prominent image of the Drenthe barn. In this way, the new art of living is seamlessly incorporated into the classical countryside, and the visual character of the countryside remains intact.

The wooden layer consists of large shutters or arched doors, which can be manipulated at will to regulate privacy and protection from the sun. In this way, a lively image is created, harkening back to the old farm dynamic: The farm’s appearance is still changing due to the effects of usage.

The plan also envelops a landscape design, which manifests and brings to life the transition from nature to culture. The barn house is placed on a large wooden platform on the border of the designed garden and the agricultural countryside, acting as a connecting element of the land’s old and new functions. By introducing this contrast, a new harmony is created, naturally anchoring the history of the countryside’s changing function at this location.

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