High Barn

Hurley and Hughes Architects, Kent, 2018


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Rachel Hurley     Download Original

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High Barn is a new-build dwelling that replaces an existing agricultural building within the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Working with the compact footprint the existing stable due to the constraints of building in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the proposal seeks to retain the agricultural character of the former building while creating a light flexible home, capturing far-reaching views over the High Weald, framed by a crescent of oak trees.

Accommodation is spread over two floors with the upper level set in from the external walls creating a tall circulation route around the perimeter, which opens into a double-height living room with a dramatic first floor cantilever, designed in collaboration with Akera Engineers, projecting into the void and gradually revealing the view of the landscape to the north. Private spaces are contained within a lower ceilinged central zone, with a bedroom and a study at first floor accessed by a generously proportioned oak stair at the centre of the plan.

The building form and selected materials were designed to sit quietly within its agricultural setting and reflect the character of vernacular livestock shelters in the wider area. As such, original clay roof tiles were reused, while narrow vertical cedar boards with horizontal breaks, which will grey over time, were selected to reflect the corrugated cladding on the surrounding agricultural buildings. A projecting bay south of the plan lights the primary circulation route, while also providing an oak-lined window seat framing a striking view of the adjacent Oast House.

Careful interior planning ensured only a small increase to the volume of the existing shelter, minimising the visual impact on the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, while the simplicity of the layout and robust detailing enabled the 85 sq m building and landscape to be delivered to a modest budget.


  • Begun: Sep 2016
  • Completed: Apr 2018
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £140,000
  • Funding: Private
  • Procurement: Minor Works Building Contract with contractor’s design
  • Address: Confidential, Kent, TN12, United Kingdom

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