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The aptly named Modern Barn, is a crisp, contemporary house created to look over the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site and designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Dorset, UK. Its author, London-based studio Coffey Architects, conceived the home, a commission for a local family, as a ‘sustainably crafted coastal home’, which draws on its distinctive location and the region’s architectural vernacular, while serving the client’s 21st-century needs.
Modern Barn: crisp geometry meets English countryside
The residence’s design was composed as a cluster of three pitched volumes. They are all placed on a plinth, which forms the structure’s foundation, sturdily made of local Blue Lias stone. Larch timber wraps the volumes, juxtaposing the solidity and rough texture of the rock with the smooth, warm feel of the wood. All volumes are across a single level, making for a low, carefully articulated mini campus set within a wider, generous, 1.8-acre site.
The separate volumes were not created by chance, or because of an architect’s creative whim. Modern Barn’s brief outlined a home that can allow for independence, and spaces where users can autonomously live, work and sleep, all at once but also separately, when needed. The spatial arrangement allows for that to happen.
This architectural response ensures high functionality for the residents, while the carefully chosen textures mark a structure that feels entirely at home in its rural setting above the bay of Lyme Regis. Meanwhile, a series of terraces outside the main living spaces – the kitchen, living room and bedrooms – make the most of the green nature and sea vistas beyond the property’s carefully curated garden.
Practice director Phil Coffey said: ‘At Modern Barn there is a seamless integration of the external pattern and interior shadows which offers a compelling experience, imbues the building with a unique identity, and fosters a genuine sense of belonging to its surroundings. With a focus on sea, sunlight and warmth of materiality, this is rich internal landscape in which to live.’