Janke's Barn is situated in a hamlet close to Wakes Colne in Essex, about 10 miles North-West of Colchester. The project comprises the refurbishment and conversion of 3 structures grouped around a courtyard. A large, Grade 2 listed late 18th century Threshing Barn sits next to an early 20th century stable block and piggery (built at the same time as a red-brick farmhouse next door). Our client, Joanne Bernstein, is a landscape designer, and so the gardens that she designed are integral to the architecture. The courtyard becomes an immersive 'hortus conclusus', or enclosed garden, with a simpler, more formal composition at the rear - a square pond surrounded by a perennial meadow, overlooking open fields. The project was completed in 2022.
The aim was to make as few changes to the appearance of the existing structures as possible, both inside and out, retaining the character and atmosphere of the place. Nonetheless, the barn is a comfortable dwelling, with modern facilities and underfloor heating, etc. Three new black structures sit inside the tall threshing barn; a wood burning stove; a kitchen worktop; and a free-standing study platform allowing one to enjoy the grand scale of the space and the intricacy of the roof structure.
A new insulated plywood lining sits in-between the existing historical timber structure and the cladding, and the existing plinth is lined internally with local bricks A new brick ground unites the internal volumes of the barn and the outbuildings. Terraces of brick setts create a series of extended thresholds, rooms in the landscape.