Dwelling in the Barn

Tomáš Lorenc
CTU in Prague - Faculty of Civil Engineering
Czech Republic

Project idea

The aim of the project was to design a family house comprising two residential units. One bigger for a four-member family and the second for grandparents or for rent. The family house is located in village Lenešice within few kilometres from the Louny city in the northwest region of the Czech Republic.

The Lenešice village is currently working on a regulatory plan of a new developing area in the eastern part of the village. There used to be a famous sugar factory in the area in the past but to this day only ruins of the factory remained. However, in order to create a reminiscence monument of the village’s history, Lenešice got the idea to transform the ruins of the sugar factory into a public park with outdoor amphitheatre, gym and gallery. This vision creates a really unique and pleasant place to live. The draft of the regulatory plan served as the base document for the design. It defined quite strict rules such as: shape of the roof, its angle and direction; maximal number of storeys; maximal area of the building within the plot; minimal area of the greenery; etc.

The idea of the house itself is based on the local traditions of architecture. The archetypal of Barn has strong roots in the Czech history and delivers positive feelings to the inhabitants such as safety and certainty. It also resembles spacy and industrial building of the sugar factory.

Project description

The shape of the house is based on the traditional form of a Barn. It is simple and minimalistic without any added constructions or features. The roof has overlaps and visible rain downpipes. All the used materials are bare without any additions or coverage in order to let them emit their natural essence. An important part of the design is also the surrounding garden. Each part of the garden has its purpose and creates a different place for a different mood of the inhabitants. The biggest part serves as an active garden with built-in trampoline and terrace but there are also quieter places such is the eastern garden with fruit trees or the northern garden which is designed in a somewhat wilder way. The idea of a rustic Barn is also palpable in the design of the fence which might even resemble farm fences of animal enclosures.

In the interior the Barn idea is the most visible in the bare traditional roof truss construction. The main space is opened from the ground floor up to the top of the roof and resembles the Barn traditional space. Also, the furniture is designed in a rustic but modern way. The main residential unit has an area of 165,6 m2 and the second unit has an area of 90,4 m2. Both units enable access to the terrace.

Technical information

The vertical load bearing structures are designed from calcium-silicate masonry. Horizontal load bearing structures are designed from calcium-silicate blocks & reinforced concrete system. The foundations are beneath each load bearing wall in a form of stripes. The cladding of the exterior walls is made of a lime stone. It is founded on the stripes together with the walls and in the places above the wall openings it is carried by special cantilevers which were designed in detail in order to assure the possibility of realization of the building. They are described further in the documentation. Due to the emphasis of the possibility of realization and in order to solve each particular place of the construction technical drawings were also produced.

The roof is made of standing seam metal plates and it is carried by a traditional wooden truss system. All the structures which are in contact with the external environment are well insulated, mostly with stone wool thermal insulation. The house was assessed from the heat loss & gain point of view (with a method fitting the Czech climate) and it meets the standards of the low energy cost buildings.

Most of the technologies in the house are united for both residential units except ventilation units which are separated in order to assure independent fresh air delivery. Basically, the house is equipped with a ground-water heat pump, which is used for floor heating and heating of the warm water. Together with the photovoltaics system it represents the main energy supply system of the building. Thanks to that, 90% of house’s energy need is covered from renewable sources. In case of malfunction of the system a gas boiler is ready to take over the energy supply.


Ing. arch. Štěpán Lajda
prof. Ing. arch. Michal Šourek

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