Barns that are no longer in use are often situated on good land and have interesting contours. Architects have now discovered their charm and are transforming the interiors into modern lofts, while leaving the exterior untouched. Savioz Fabrizzi Architectes from Switzerland specialise in this type of transformation and redefinition of old buildings. In the Val d’Entremont in Switzerland at the entrance to the village of Praz-de-Fort the team came across a dilapidated nineteenth-century barn. They set about converting it into a holiday home. The architects chose an unconventional approach, starting off by completely dismantling the old barn and moving it to a new location a few kilometres away – with a completely new interior. To do this, they created a ‘building-in-building’ with the aid of a concrete foundation, on which a two-storey light-wood structure was mounted. Around this structure they re-erected the old barn. The original openings, such as the barn door, were retained but enlarged and glazed. Otherwise, the windows were kept to a minimum so as to preserve the character of the building but also to achieve a greater sense of intimacy on the inside, where light oak wood dominated, being used for all walls, as well as the floor, tables, chairs and staircases. One of these staircases leads to the upper storey containing a bedroom and office. The other leads down to the concrete plinth, which the architects hollowed out and in which they installed a second bedroom and bathroom. The barn ‘sits’ slightly raised on the concrete foundation and the space created in this way is glazed to let in daylight to the lower storey. The bathroom is made completely of concrete, with the white Vero washbasin from Duravit as a stand-out feature. The clear, rectangular form makes it the ideal choice for the minimalistic surroundings.
The barn is now the secondary residence of a Swiss family. Next to it is another wooden shed. Who knows what Savioz Fabrizzi Architectes will make of it the next time they visit Praz-de-Fort.