UTRECHT – A former dairy farm is penetrated with a new extension, turning the typical old-school farmhouse into a modern residence with a traditional aesthetic. Local firm Zecc Architecten has a knack for renovating old buildings and giving them new life.
In this instance, the firm appears to have physically ‘pierced the archetypal farm with a new wooden volume’ perpendicular to the existing building. The newly completed extension provides additional domestic space at the rear of the barn, which includes living quarters and a master bedroom, as well as facilitating an overall re-shuffling of the internal accommodation.
‘The relationship between inside and outside was a continuous central theme when making the choices for the interior,’ the architect comments. ‘From the basic materials of wood, concrete and steel, a rich variety of subtly different atmospheres is created; different in each room without losing the visual cohesion of the whole.’ The rural character of the interior detailing is the result of a collaboration with Jeroen van Zwetselaar of ZW6 Architecture. The threshold between inside and outside is blurred by the rustic, downplayed materiality, which even includes the intrusion of cobbled stone paving from the landscaped garden (by Boom Landscape Architects) into the entrance hall.
Externally, the intervention is not intended to blur against the backdrop but to be recognizable as an addition to the existing building fabric, clad with slender, vertical timber strips that contrast with the original brick walls of the farmhouse. The architect describes the extension as ‘feeding’ the original building, as if it has been brought in as a life support to improve the farm’s longevity.
More literally, it refers to the fact that the water is heated through solar collectors and electricity is generated from photovoltaic cells, recessed into the new roof – designed at the perfect angle in relation to the sun – so that they are not visible from ground level. The increased sustainability of the original building and the electricity produced on site means that the farmhouse achieves a carbon dioxide neutral solution.
Section – Northeast
Elevation – Southeast