I always like seeing old buildings renovated in a way that doesn’t diminish their historic charm, yet still gets them ready for the new millennium. That’s exactly what the firm Studio Farris Architects from Belgium did when they turned an old West Flanders barn into a large and light-filled office. The innovative stairs and mezzanine level only add to the charm, and frankly I want something just like that in my office.
The converted barn was dubbed Stable, and even though the end result doesn’t seem that different from the original building, they made quite a few changes. They left the exterior pretty much in the original condition, which is a good thing, I think. They did add a few extra windows and skylights to allow more natural light to flood the interior. They also replaced the original barn door with a sliding glass door.
Though not readily apparent, the interior did receive quite an overhaul. They installed a new concrete volume within the structure, which is the same shape and size as the original building. According to the architects, they did this because this “box-in-box system” improves the energy efficiency of the building, as well as protect against any chemical reactions with sulfates in the soil and walls of the original structure. This internal structure also provided minimalistic interior walls, while the gap between the existing walls, and this new box were then filled with insulation.
The mezzanine level and the stairs leading up to it are of made of 12 layers of stacked timber beams. The barn is currently being used as an office, and the loft area is big enough for two office desks. The stairs also offer a lot of storage space, and provide a small reading area. This entire installation is also removable, which is very useful should this building ever be used for anything other than an office.