Black Barn Studios is part work place and part manifesto. It attempts to address three of the main challenges facing architecture; in use energy, embodied energy and bio-diversity.
Starting life as a steel framed, asbestos roofed barn that had been used as an equestrian facility, it was surrounded by 3 acres of bio-diversity poor, heavily grazed paddock.
The re-build was conceived and built using Passivhaus principles of high levels of insulation, air tightness and MVHR. This low energy approach was augmented with a 20kW PV array on the roof so that the building produces more energy than it uses across the year. Heating is provided by an air source heat pump via the MVHR system which also monitors CO2 to ensure high air quality at all times.
In order to reduce embodied energy the barn was stripped back to its steel frame, concrete slab and foundations. The existing slab was repaired and retained and insulated with 250mm of insulation. Pre-cut and labelled 300mm timber I-beams were delivered to site for a quick efficient build within the existing frame over 5 days. When boarded this
frame was filled with blown woodfibre insulation and fitted with triple glazed windows and doors to achieve exceptional airtightness of 0.3ACH @ 50Pa. The whole building was then re-clad using black corrugated metal and UK grown Larch. The internal flooring is UK grown and manufactured Elm floorboards, timber board cladding on the internal walls was reclaimed from the horse stables of the original barn and beautiful oak sliding doors saved from the skip of one of our projects were refurbished to form internal windows. Adjacent to the design studio is a music studio with acoustically isolated walls and doors.
The 3 acre site has been planted with over 500 native trees and shrubs including Elm, Alder and Black Poplar; some of the country's rarest trees, and over 2,000m2 of wild flower meadow.
The existing concrete yard at the rear has been adapted to create cracks of life in the worn beauty of simple farm yard.