Old Hay Barn

Cirencester

Originally a stone byre that had been extended with a Steel Dutch barn (the use of 'Dutch' is a little misleading, as there is no connection with the Dutch!), the barn's original use had been to store hay for cattle.

Dutch barns are characterized by the large open spaces. We wanted to keep this essential characteristic in a few large rooms on the ground floor. To achieve this, we negotiated with conservation officers to extend the rear of this barn and into this we placed the secondary rooms and circulation space. This strategy worked, allowing us to create the dramatically large open plan kitchen and living room on the ground floor while retaining the airiness of the original barn.

Dutch barns are often harder to convert than traditional stone barns, due to the existing steel frames being corroded at their bases thanks to exposure to urea or fertilizer and the limited head heights. We initially had to repair the steel structure by welding new steel sections in place and underpinning the foundations. We then minimized the depth of the first-floor structure to create sufficient height on the first floor.

To keep the character of the barn externally, we retained and repaired all the original steels and stone work. We exposed the steel and made locally repointed the stonework using local materials. New elements of the building work included an oak cladding board and zinc roofing.

Internally the barn is incredibly light with floor to ceiling glazing, bringing light deep into the rooms designed for sizeable family gatherings, with ample space for large tables and soft seating areas.

As with all the barns at Bibury, this has a low carbon footprint and has won awards for the sustainable approach taken in the conversion. To achieve this all heating and hot water is from a ground source heat pump which collects heat from boreholes that are 150m deep. To minimize the loss of warm air and ensure good air quality, the whole has a high level of airtightness and utilises a heat recovery system. This leads to low future running costs and carbon footprint.

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