The Balancing Barn stands on the edge of a tranquil nature reserve a few miles inland from the Suffolk coast.
Clad in elegant silver tiles, the house dramatically cantilevers over the landscape, providing views from its huge panoramic windows over woods, ponds and meadows. The house was designed by the Dutch firm MVRDV, who have won a world-wide reputation for the ingenuity, playfulness and comfort of their designs
The Balancing Barn is built on a stunning site beside a Suffolk wildlife nature reserve, and overlooking a small lake.
From the road, the barn is almost invisible, with a pitched roof that faces the long straight driveway and suggests a property with a small and traditional shape. However, the whole house is in fact 30 metres long, extending right over the grounds it occupies. At its midpoint, the house starts to cantilever over the descending slope; a balancing act made possible by the rigid structure of the building; resulting in 50% of the barn being in free space, and giving a wide view over the Suffolk landscape, adjacent lake and surrounding garden. The long sides of the structure are well hidden by trees allowing privacy inside and around the barn. The exterior is covered in reflective steel tiles, resulting in the barn changing its exterior with every new season.
Within the interior and closest to the driveway are a kitchen and dining area. A series of four double bedrooms follows, each with separate bathroom and WC. In the very centre of the barn, the bedroom sequence is interrupted by a hidden staircase providing access to the garden beneath. In the far, cantilevered end of the barn, a large living space is created. Throughout all the rooms, full height sliding windows, roof lights and a glass floor give wonderful views and access into the garden and surrounding landscape, allowing visitors the opportunity to reconnect with the rhythms of nature.
The interior has been fitted out with great imagination by the Dutch design office Studio Makkink & Bey. On the walls and floor coverings, paintings by Constable and Gainsborough (both local artists) have been sampled and manipulated, and in places resemble the geometry of works by Mondrian. Studio Makkink & Bey have made some bespoke items of furniture for the house, and have put together a collection of some of the most beautiful chairs, tables, sofas and lamps by leading contemporary Dutch designers.