The County Down Barn is located within walking distance of the village of Ballygowan which gives access to facilities and community.
Access is gained with a walk around the side of a drumlin, passing playful features, a metal balustrade and the fingered merging of hard landscaping and the drumlin grass. All add to a sense of anticipation.
Internally the house is full of intelligent and delightful design play. Exposed timber finishes are complemented by wood burning stoves and cast concrete surrounds, almost as acting sculptures. No material from the build was wasted with features created from offcuts and novel spaces hollowed out from what would normally be the loft.
The design takes advantage of the local landscape of sloping drumlins to place the living spaces with high ceilings, higher temperatures and better light on the first floor but still with the benefit of direct access to the outside. There was an ecological slant too; the building is a modest simple rectangular shape which minimises the surface area, reduces heat loss and kept construction costs down.
This is an enjoyable example of craftsmanship and design creativity used as the tools to develop functional solutions to enrich and enhance the living experience of its occupants. It is a beautifully crafted building which makes reference to the specific site through the use of the barn typology; to the local landscape by the exploitation of the drumlin landscape; to the vernacular via its scale and section, and to the need to build sustainably through its location, compact form and layout. Through design play, craftsmanship and invention the architects have created a beautiful, functional, hospitable and engaging home.