Converting a 50-Year-Old Barn in a Modern Home for a Young Family

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This 50 year old barn has been recovered and transformed by Inês Brandão Arquitectura in a modern home for a young family in Leiria, Portugal.

Description by Inês Brandão: Recovering a building with 50 years ‐ half housing, half barn. The aim is to maintain existing memories from a space that, once, was the stage to such varied experiences ‐ rural stories mixed with stories of young people from a controversial time.

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In the presence of such a special place, as the barn, is chosen to protect it and elect it as the protagonist of the new and modern home of a young growing family.

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A single new element is inserted in this space, almost like a furniture piece, that idea is accentuated by its own materiality – painted OSB. With a very small budget (the other goal), it is essential to create a compact element, bringing together all the new functions – kitchen, toilets, storage and staircase.

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This “furniture” is fundamental in the compartmentalization of the social area of the ground floor, dividing the space between entrance area, living room, dinning area and kitchen. The top floor, which served in other times, for drying grain, is overlocking the social area and works as a retreat space and working area.

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The materialization of this piece would have to be made from something that, at the same time, would have a structural role and would help me to communicate easily this idea of furniture.

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The choice of using OSB, an ecological and economic material, was quite easy, due to its structural characteristics and its plasticity. I knew, that with this material I could make all the single elements from this model – walls, doors, kitchen and storage cabinets, stairs and even the floor on the top of the model. I use the type 3 of OSB, that can support high levels of humidity – an important detail when you want to use it in humid areas.

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It was important, for me, to create a visual contrast between the floor (in portuguese pine) and the white walls and roof, but it was also important to assume the texture of the wood. The black color on OSB boards helped me at this point.

Architects: Inês Brandão Arquitectura
Location: Monte Real, Portugal
Contractor: Salvador Cruz e Joaquim Crespo
Photographs: João Morgado

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