Engine Architecture – The Modern Barn 2.0

Location: High Ridge Road, Athlone

Stage: Built

Interiors by Hector and Bailey
Photography by Michelle Reynolds

A bold, yet humble, adaptive reuse project in Durban North.

Our second residential project for the same Durban North family, the “Modern Barn 2.0” has a similar generating idea: the reconfiguration of a radically altered house. Using the existing footprint, the layout has been clarified into two wings separated by an entrance axis. To the north, bedrooms and associated bathrooms, and to the south a living wing extending east and west onto entertainment and relaxing areas.

The lightweight first floor and roof were demolished and replaced by parallel double-pitched roofs that echo the functional split inside. These forms are separated by the entrance staircase which is encased in a light- and air filled jali screen that lights up like a lantern at night and contributes positively to the fairly humble streetscape.

Learning from the neighbouring predecessor, a greater emphasis was placed on spatial dynamics and form-making, and this resulted in a more generous engagement with the site and its surroundings. The front deck over the existing garage enjoys views of the sea, and the rear deck reaches out to afternoon sun and the back garden, where the existing pool has been converted to a water-harvesting tank and covered with low maintenance astroturf for a level play area.

Materials and detailing are also more playfully juxtaposed. Smooth and textured wall surfaces activate sunlight and contrast with delicate constructive details in painted steel and timber slats