It's easy to demolish an old barn in order to replace it with a brand new, shiny home, but it's not as easy to transform the barn into an elegant apartment. However, that's exactly what the experts over at OFIS Architects managed to do with the Alpine Barn Apartment, which is located in the Municipality of Bohinj, Slovenia. The project aims to contribute to the survival of Slovene vernacular architecture -a type of architecture that is deeply rooted in local tradition.
The exterior design of the barn was left intact, while its interiors were altered dramatically. The ground floor used to accommodate stock, while the upper level was used as storage for farm equipment and hay. It's hard to imagine how such a basic and modest building could end up offering contemporary living conditions, but the results speak for themselves. The former external storage space next to the entryway has been transformed into a deck that offers great views of the Alps.
The primary volume comprises several wooden structure lines that house the dining area, a living room and a raised bedroom. The bathrooms, the sauna, the wardrobe, the kitchen and a fireplace were inserted within a service box that is sheltered by a wall made out of vertical planks. Above the terrace, there is a guest bedroom, which opens up to the primary living area as a gallery. The Alpine Barn Apartment offers 1,291 square feet of living space, and it was completed in 2015.
From the architect:
Traditional landmarks creating a Slovenian countryside also include different types of farmhouses, hayracks and barns. Unfortunately many of these no longer serve its purpose, therefore are mostly in poor condition, non-maintained and often simply destroyed and replaced with generic housing. Only by embracing the traditions that have been passed on to by their ancestors ensure that the Slovene vernacular architecture* survives not just as national symbol, but also an integral part of the Slovenian rural lifestyle.
*a category of architecture based on local needs, construction materials and reflecting local traditions
Old Barn Revitalization.
The concept converts old barn into a loft apartment by leaving the original exterior appearance intact in contrast with creating a new internal wooden shell.
Originally, ground floor served as stable for stock and upper level for drying and storing hay and farm equipment.
The existing ramp, which leads to the wooden deck above cattle area – is kept and serves as the main entrance to the new gallery apartment. The former external storage area next to the entrance is converted into the porch overlooking the Alps. All external wooden cladding and concrete roof slates are maintained, the only intervention are perforations into wooden parts behind internal windows and opening of the front porch.
Along the main volume between each existing wooden structure line are positioned living area, dining and raised bedroom. The auxiliary spaces like wardrobe, bathrooms, sauna, fireplace and kitchen are packed inside the service box displaced on the side behind the wall created by vertical planks. Guest bedroom is created above the terrace, opened as a gallery towards the main living space.
All internal shell (floors, walls, furniture) is made by deep-brushed local spruce.
Architects: OFIS Architects
Location: Municipality of Bohinj, Slovenia
Project Team: Rok Oman, Spela Videcnik, Andrej Gregoric, Janez Martincic, Michele Albonetti, Maria Della Mea, Tomaž Cirkvencic, Pawel Nikkiel, Gözde Okyay, Maria Rosaria Ritonnaro, Ralea Toma Ioan Catalin, Grega Valencic, Vlad Popa, Tanja Veselic, Jade Manbodh, Roberta Costa
Area: 120.0 sqm
Project Year: 2015
Photographs: Tomaz Gregoric, Courtesy of OFIS Architects
Structural Engineering: Projecta
Mechanical Engineering: MM-term
Electrical Engineering: ES
Lighting: Arcadia lightwear
General Contractor: Permiz