Mecanoo architects reinvents the traditional Dutch barn-house
International architectural firm Mecanoo has recently finished a three-part villa in the Netherlands that puts a modern spin on the traditional Dutch barn-house or "hoeve." Located in the beautiful Dutch countryside near the town of Vught, Villa Vught comprises three closely built dwellings positioned around a central courtyard.
“The Villa’s functions are distributed within three distinct volumes, shaped to resemble the vernacular of a small village,” says Mecanoo. “The central open space is protected, yet open to the surrounding landscape. This spatial arrangement guided the design of the Villa.”
The three dwellings are built with dark bronze anodized aluminum cladding, corrugated iron roofing and lighter bronze aluminum finished window frames. Cross-laminated timber panels were used throughout the building process, contributing to the villa's impressive Energy Performance Coefficient status of 0.26, rendering the villa approximately 75 percent more energy efficient than housing standards set in 2005. In addition, electric heat pumps have also been incorporated to heat and cool the dwellings.
“Compared to other solid construction methods, relatively little energy is needed for the production and processing of cross-laminated timber,” says Mecanoo. “It contributes to sustainable CO2 storage as well.”
Two of the buildings are shaped similarly to traditional gabled barns, and the third structure is specifically designed as a mini tower, in order to capture the beauty of the surrounding rural views and landscaped gardens. The first barn-house boasts an open living area, extra large modern kitchen, dining area, large adjoining exterior terrace, elevated work cove, and playroom on the first floor.
The second barn-house features a large cooking studio designed to host a maximum of 20 students for culinary lessons. The space can also be used for different types of workshops or team-building activities and was designed specifically to suit the business activities of the owner. In addition, this barn-house also features a guest suite on the upper level, and a garage and storage area below.
The taller house incorporates the main sleeping quarters and includes a large master bedroom on the ground floor, additional two bedrooms on the upper floors and a stunning concealed rooftop terrace. Linking the main living barn house with this taller structure, a secret walkway was constructed, conveniently connecting the two structures beneath a grassed landscape.
“The design ambition endeavored to connect the residential functions while maintaining the detached traditional farmstead typology," says Mecanoo. "To this end, a half-sunken corridor, concealed beneath a grass mound, links the taller landmark volume with the barn’s living room. The barn containing the cooking studio and guest house, is completely detached, maintaining sight-lines from the courtyard to the surrounding landscape.”
All three buildings have also been accomplished with the same design aesthetic, which incorporates a strong emphasis on open spaces, soft neutral tones and natural wooden interiors. Standout design features throughout the structures include large wooden framed windows with sleek folding timber shutters and a series of strategically positioned skylights. The combination of the two filter an abundance of natural sunlight throughout all of the interior spaces, eliminating the need for artificial lighting during the day. Furthermore, the elevated work studio boasts a large glass window overlooking the living area, providing a private work space, while also giving the user a sense of being a part of the action of the home.