The Barn Is Now the Living Space at This 16th-Century Home in the French Pyrenees

Paris firm Plan Común rejigged the floor plan of the stone and concrete country residence for energy efficiency and improved indoor/outdoor flow.

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Project Details:

Location: Saint-Beauzile, France

Architect: Plan Común / @plancomun_

Footprint: 4,617 square feet

Photographer: Maxime Verret / @maxverret

From the Architect: "This rehabilitation of a 16th-century house located in the middle of a forest offers breathtaking views of the northern side of the Pyrenees.

"In tune with budgetary constraints and the idea of a transformation with almost nothing, the intervention is concentrated on the southeastern part of the house. It is limited to a minimal footprint that radically transforms the relationship with the site—the new south facade is now the main one—and improves the performance of the whole house: new rooms and generous open spaces for communal living.

"Three criteria define the intervention strategy.

"Selective transformation of the house: Concentrate all efforts on a specific part of the house, the barn, in order to redefine its whole function. On the ground floor, the barn is transformed into a large living room, around which the house is organized. On the first floor, the new common terrace opens onto the landscape. Eight identical openings are established to offer fluid exchanges between the interior and exterior, wide views, natural light, and ventilation.

"Definition of a minimum living volume: During winter, fewer living spaces are used, so it doesn’t require as much heat and can save on energy.

"More with less: to focus the efforts on specific elements. The existing barn wall, partially collapsed, is reconstructed as a cyclopean wall. The bush-hammered concrete reveals the yellow and purple stone blocks found on site: the existing and rebuilt cohabit; the creation of generous openings on the south, and thermal comfort by qualitative insulation (heating by the ground and bio-sourced system in lime hemp applied in the facade); the enhancement of the common, inexpensive, and manageable building elements by a careful implementation: prefabricated beams and slabs, concrete blocks, cyclopean concrete poured on-site and a natural swimming pool with biological filtration."

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