Dutch Barn

Langport, Somerset

This project is the rare conversion of a redundant Dutch barn and farm store into holiday accommodation to increase the diversification of the farm.

This Dutch barn conversion is one of only a few of this type in the South West and it generates much interest from visitors to the area as well as from people around the country who see it largely through electronic media. We believe this interest is created because the finished building remains true to the aesthetic of the original building and agricultural setting but has a crispness of finish and balanced proportions that set it apart. 

The original barn consisted of a curved corrugated iron roof on a steel frame with a brick lean-to and some ad hoc cladding.   The existing steel stanchions were repaired and retained with the new enclosure built inside them to maintain the aesthetic.

The barrel vaulted roof had to be replaced so curved timber roof trusses were specially fabricated by a local timber supplier and covered with ply sheets to create the correct continuous curve.  

The zinc roof panels were formed to a radius off site then quickly fixed into place, giving a streamlined appearance to the roof whilst maintaining its agricultural feel. This roof covering is not only aesthetically pleasing but it is also an environmentally sound product since over 30% of today's supply of zinc comes from the recycling process.  Rather than being a potentially complicated roof to construct, the process was broken down and simplified with each trade going beyond their normal scope. The result is a beautiful roof that perfectly suits the building form and location while being cost effective and relatively quick to install.

Having considered a timber framed wall construction, this was rejected in favour of a more traditional cavity wall construction but with 100mm full fill cavity insulation providing a very low U-value combined with 140mm thick medium density internal block leaf, which provides a very stable load bearing capacity and a greater than usual thermal mass on the warm side of the insulation.

This means that the performance of the wall exceeds the minimum standards of the Building Regulations but traditional trades and techniques could be used to complete the construction. The main part of the building was then wrapped in locally sourced vertical timber cladding, while the full length lean-to on the back of the barn has a fair faced terracotta brick outer skin. 

The site is on the brow of a hill and so is exposed to the elements. To ensure low running costs, the barn has been comprehensively insulated and Austrian Internorm windows were selected for their high energy efficiency. They are, in fact aluminium clad externally which complements the steel frame of the barn and the zinc of the roof. These triple glazed windows are often specified in “Passiv Haus” constructions.  

The house is heated with a wood burner in the main living room but uses an efficient oil fired boiler as winter back up.