Stealth Barn is a project that sits next to and complements Ochre Barn, a large threshing barn converted by CTA to a home and studio. This addition was to provide a self-contained unit that could equally act as a guest house, studio or meeting place, depending on time of year and workloads: a retreat, but also a place of inspiration, enjoyment and a place of work and home without compromising the experience of either. Sitting in the exposed expanse of the Cambridgeshire fens, it is a bold, simple form, reminiscent of the barn it accompanies. Placed perpendicular to the existing barn, it stands to create and define a slightly more sheltered and casual garden which melts into the fens. This clear and simple move also hints at the memory of a former farm yard.
Stealth Barn pays respect to the form of the agricultural context but contrasts with the traditional barn. Stealth Barn is a sharp black mass – a shadow of the adjacent barn or a silhouette on the horizon. It is a robust exterior wrapped with a restricted palette, devoid of fussy detail, and formed to withstand its exposed position.
On the interior, this toughness is inverted through the inclusion of a warmer OSB; it wraps fully around the space to form angles reminiscent of the adjacent barns divided with straw bales. It also creates an immersive interior landscape with spaces simply disected in a semi open-plan manner to create compartments. Each room has aspects overlooking the fields which, although open, are very much seen through and out of this interior, providing a sense of protection and warmth. The arrangement of the main spaces into simple pockets is key to facilitating the barn’s multifunctional use – for it to become both a bedroom and a meeting room, a dining room and a studio space. It can be all of these things equally without ever feeling overly domestic or of business.
Stealth Barn is a project instigated and overseen by Carl Turner Architects. We have acted as developer Architects and, in turn, the project has allowed the office scope to experiment, learn and test ideas.