The barn at Hlöðuberg at Skarðsströnd designed by Studio Bua is situated on a former farm overlooking the Breiðafjörður Nature Reserve in western Iceland.
The land has several structures, a fragmented cluster of buildings that each have a specific character. The buildings were in various states of disrepair and initially architects were asked to come up with some ideas for the whole farm. Their proposal was to link the existing spaces to create a more cohesive landscape with a ‘community’ of buildings for the family and their friends to occupy. Together they create the place and make the site’s history evident. The first phase is the conversion of a derelict concrete barn.
The brief was to conceive a design that would house an artist studio and home for the owners. The main barn form is constructed of thick and relatively stable mass concrete and was roofed in corrugated steel. A later ‘lean-to’ addition, had already lost its roof and was a state of ruin. The remaining walls are without foundations, are placed on a higher level than the main barn structure and are very fragile.
"We decided to simply retain the perimeter walls, leaving them in a beautiful ruined state, enclosing a new walled garden."
The existing barn's robust concrete structure was retained and adapted to accommodate a kitchen and dining area alongside a double-height studio space. The ground floor is designed to provide a sequence of utilitarian spaces with good natural light and views of the surrounding landscape through new and existing openings.
The extension's gabled form mirrors the profile of the original concrete structure, while its homogenous, corrugated-metal cladding distinguishes it as a new addition.
"On the first floor - the domestic sphere - we maintained a subdued palette of materials inspired by local vernacular interiors, the walls and floors are lined in white stained pine boards. A plywood staircase leads from the ground floor dining space to a mezzanine sitting room, overlooking a double-height space. A large existing opening on the end facade has been fully glazed, and the adjoining void allows both spaces to benefit from the view and daylight."