This house with barn in Laren came forth from the wish of a retired couple to return to their rural roots in the former textile production region in the East of the Netherlands. The couple fell in love with an old farm, that after closer inspection turned out to be completely dilapidated. The design for a new home was inspired by the two volumes that were there before, typical for this agricultural region. The architects Laura van Santen and Diederik de Koning, together la-di-da, deliberately avoided the cliche of a white box on the one hand or a faux traditional house on the other. They looked for a contemporary translation across scales, where craft and high tech go hand in hand.
The owners of the house are very dedicated to the local landscape, and to restoring the traditional hedges and forests. They have bought an adjacent cornfield and regenerated the soil quality for local grazers, and invited a local beekeeper to place his hives on their plot. In order to maintain this ideology, the architectural design is inspired by renewable materials. A large range of products made of untreated pine was applied: a glued laminated timber structure, wood fibre and cellulose insulation, acetylated window frames, thermally modified terrace and facades planks, oriented strandboard panel interior finishing in the barn and plywood panel interior finishing in the house.
The facade and roof are finished in a very economic way typical for contemporary farm buildings, using fibre cement corrugated roofing and facade panels. This way there is no maintenance required for the exterior, so that the couple can spend their time doing what they love, being outside in the garden. The house and barn are designed to work and live, with a large library for writing and an atelier for weaving. Particular to this region is to enter the house via the kitchen. This space is accentuated with a double height space and theatrical stairs leading to two guest bedrooms. The master bedroom is on the ground floor, so that the owners can stay on one level.
The structure was completely prefabricated, and installation onsite was very quick. The grid of frames is filled in with walls, that can easily be moved in the future. Several important axes in the plan allow for constant views outwards, to never lose touch the surroundings. Due to the simplicity of construction and finishing, the design could afford to be generous with spaces. Next to the sustainable materiality, the installations were chosen for their energy efficiency. A 150 meter deep geothermal heat pump powered by solar panels draws warmth from the groundwater in winter and cools in summer and a balance ventilation system preheats the incoming air with the outgoing air.
Text provided by the architect