Alpine Barn / EXiT architetti associati

© Teresa Cos

Architects: EXiT architetti associati / Francesco Loschi, Giuseppe Pagano, Paolo Panetto
Location: Selva di Cadore, Belluno, Italy
Project Manager: Francesco Loschi
Structural Engineering: Alberto Soligo
Technical Plan Design: Mauro Benozzi
Project Area: 220 sqm
Project Year: 2008-2010
Photographs: Teresa Cos

In the Italian Alps, barns vary from region to region in their form, materials and structure. In the Cadore which is located in the Dolomites, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, alpine barns are built from wood and . The ground floors in such barns were typically used as stables and the upper floors as haylofts.

original building
ground floor plan
first floor plan

We were asked to design the conversion of a barn into a holiday home in Selva di Cadore on behalf of a mountain enthusiast and his family.

© Teresa Cos

The starting point was the careful removal of wooden elements and structural joints. After the building had been dismounted, many wooden beams and boards were cleaned and restored whilst others were replaced with treated wood in order to maintain the chromatic continuity of the material before being remounted. From a volumetric perspective, some annexes that limited the original volume were removed and only essential ones were maintained and integrated in a discreet fashion.

© Teresa Cos

The new exposed black steel structure respects the modular geometry of the barn and lends itself with the original wooden structure. A few steel beams are covered with wood. The building is totally energy self-sufficient thanks to a photovoltaic system integrated within the roof which is made of larch. It also generates zero emissions thanks to an electric under-floor heating system.

© Teresa Cos
© Teresa Cos

Great attention was given to: the selection of materials (larch and fir wood, Dolomia stone, black steel, white rough plaster), their interaction and light entering from the windows. Every ambiance in the house is characterised by an accurate weaving of these five materials that creates a balanced and integrated system in each room.

Cite: "Alpine Barn / EXiT architetti associati" 30 Aug 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 28 May 2015. <>
  • up_today_arch

    Stylish… New generation of old type of building, with sun panels and cool bathroom…

  • ika

    fine fine fine

  • atmoko

    looks like Indonesian architecture but in modern type..:D

  • Jakov

    Very nice! Only I don’t beleive you can cover electrical heating with a few photovoltaic panels… How much is their electrical bill?

    • Ralph Kent

      That’s what I was thinking as well, Jakov. There would need to be some pretty amazing passive heating system going on there and some passivhaus standard insulation for those PVs to cover the winter heating load for an alpine barn conversion. How much wood are they having to buy in every year as well?!

  • max

    Love it! If I lived there I’d tone down some of the wood.

    • junior


  • æon

    The house has a normal classic look. I liked the color of the wood.

  • adf

    Dwarf house :-)

  • arnold

    I like such old style wooden houses. Recently in Swiss I saw many beauty old style architecture.

    it’s good, that they rebuilt this old house.