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Burwash barn

Originally built as part of the farm the agricultural outbuildings are ancillary to a Grade II listed 17th century farmhouse in East Sussex located within the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The aim of the project was to provide additional family accommodation including a sitting room, studio bedroom and bathroom together with a garage and outside store within an historical building sensitively balanced with contemporary fittings and detailing.

The existing timber structure sole plates were rotten being partially below ground level in some locations on low quality sandstone foundations. The existing foundations were carefully removed and new foundations installed.

The clients were keen to maintain the look and character of the barn so the buildings broadly retain their original appearance having been meticulously surveyed and stripped back prior to rebuilding. They had suffered from water ingress through the substructure and roof and a significant amount of timber repairs to the original structure were required. The building had also moved over time and the clients were keen to ensure that the building retained this appearance so natural undulations within the roof structure were not corrected. Where existing timber was replaced with new oak, traditional carpentry methods were used with the tenons pegged.

It was important that the existing structure of the building was visible but also thermally efficient which ruled out installing the insulation between the studs and joists. Instead new insulation for the walls, exceeding Building regulation requirements, was installed over the existing structure and over the roof forming a warm roof. The existing rotten oak cladding boards were removed and replaced to match the original with new oak boards.

The lower roofs had Sussex peg tiles many of which were damaged and the main barn roof had been replaced with corrugated sheet. Reclaimed tiles were used and mixed with the existing tiles to ensure the roof kept its original appearance. Bat ‘slots’ were also detailed into the structure.

The existing building was divided into three barns that were not connected. The Wealden District conservation officer allowed a small opening in the existing sandstone retaining wall between the lower barn and main barn enabling the installation of a new stair to link the two spaces, a key move that allowed the buildings to flow into each other. The conservation officer was also keen that the building retained its original open elevation. To achieve this the new sliding glazing had to be installed behind the original posts and were bracketed from the existing structure The large contemporary glazed sliding doors and windows allow the original studio structure to be fully appreciated while opening up views to the countryside beyond.

The new interior specification includes new oak flooring, flush glazing, a new concrete fireplace, oak doors and windows.

The landscaping was altered to create a new vehicular entrance to the north of the site enabling the old track to be subsumed into the field to minimise the hard standing surfaces.

site plan

interior sketch

interior sketch

detail section

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