Designing The New Timber Frame
Their choice of materials for the frame were planed and kiln dried UK grown Douglas fir with black steel plates and bolts. These materials incorporate their core design by giving a crisp, straight lined, lightweight frame. Working with frame design director Paul Kirkup, Type Architects chose to create a frame that pushed timber frame engineering.
‘When Tom described the aesthetic of the roof structure as a Douglas fir ‘cast’ the frame design stemmed from that. Aligning the position of the rafters with the first-floor joists as well as using Douglas fir plywood for the ceiling material at ground and the first floor, enhanced the precision of the design adding to the feeling of a mould or casting.’ Paul Kirkup
The original timber first floor and roof had been completely lost, these elements were reinstated with contemporary Douglas fir structures, designed to evoke the rhythm and pragmatic simplicity of traditional agricultural framing.
Defying Timber Frame Convention
Instead of conventional trusses spanning across the 6.5m width of the existing barn, the architects asked for a single truss 21m long, spanning from gable to gable, a unique frame that is essentially a bridge truss with forked ends. The forked ends enable the frame to avoid landing in the large window at one end and, as the whole frame is symmetrical, forked ends were added to the other end.
‘A highly efficient truss spans the building lengthways, utilising small section timber and steel connections. This allows the structure to sit higher than a conventional truss and stresses the height, form and scale of the space.’ Type Studio
Combining Tradition with Innovation
Type decided to concentrate the project budget on the structure of the building, putting time and money into the stone walls and the timber frame. With the structure of the building secure, the internal space is designed to be adaptable. In order to preserve the spacious feel of the building, ‘floating boxes’ were used to create rooms which later, if required, can be changed.
The original stone walls have been thoughtfully respected and adapted, with oak pivot doors maintaining the large openings that once would have allowed for the movement of cattle.
As well as sourcing sustainable UK grown timber whenever possible, other eco-friendly credentials also include low embodied energy materials, sheep’s wool insulation and woodwool board.
The ingenuity of the timber frame design and engineering, using timber in a variety of ways throughout the barn conversion is a fantastic example retaining the character of a building, whilst changing its function.
Finished photography courtesy of Type Studio