by Jerry ElengicalDec 20, 2022
The journey of this building began with an architectural model. What’s new about it, you ask? It all started with a photograph of the model that became the centre of a beautiful film that narrated the story of the building in a surreal animated paper world. The 2019 film titled Archipaper, conceptualised by architect, graphic designer, and filmmaker Rafal Barnas went on to receive numerous awards worldwide, and the building - the brainchild of his brother and architect Boguslaw Barnas (of Polish firm BXB studio) - has recently been constructed.
Known as The Polish Farmhouse, the project reveals the transformation of a historical homestead turned into a modern residential manor. The design reimagined the site’s original five farm buildings into five overlapping barn volumes in an arrangement where 'seemingly random scattered solids were carefully defined by the surrounding landscape'.
Boguslaw speaks of the inspiration that drove the project. "From the very beginning when I started laying out the design of the house on the foundations of the old homestead, I knew that I had an obligation to create something special. The design needed to reflect and further enhance the existing space that existed in that place for many years. It was not only about a contemporary building, but a uniquely balanced space – one which would be the synthesis of the local tradition, outstanding landscape and function. This is how the farmhouse was created.”
Driven by BXB studio's philosophy that focuses on creating architecture which is both traditional and modern, the conceptualisation of the Polish barns involved a contemporary design rooted in the history and culture of the place. The five barns are slotted around a courtyard and the structures sit opposite a 100-year-old house whose renovation has also been done as part of the project.
As per Boguslaw, "The design philosophy of 'The Polish Farmhouse' project places great emphasis on the relationship between man and nature with reference to place, history and tradition. This relationship stems from exploring the cultural context, and as well involving contemporary structure and design.” The extensive use of wood employed on surfaces, walls and façade design features emulate the experience of entering inside a rural barn. A meticulous attention to detail has been given as well as in juxtaposing the old with the new.
The cluster of the five wooden gabled forms is punctuated with glass that makes wider windows filtering in views of the landscape. The layout of the barns references the site’s original layout, the terrain, visual axes, division of residential features, and the location of trees. The barn located on the entrance of the farm is a two-storey building featuring a garage on the lower level and a gym on the first floor. BXB studio describes this space as “a barn that has a scent of wood, […] providing the user with an adventure of entering a wooden space of a rural barn." The adjacent barn serves as the entrance to the farm building's Polish barns. Enclosed in a glass façade, the barn's frontage however is sheathed in an 'openwork wooden translucent curtain' that ties to the ornamental features of the old house on the opposite end. The third barn has a dedicated children’s space and a central hall, while the fourth barn has a kitchen on the courtyard-facing side and two study rooms on the other side that overlook lush landscape and a pond. The fifth barn, probably the highlight of the property, is housed as a double storey space with a completely glazed façade sheltering a living room that leads to an outdoor terrace. As per BXB studio, this space is an "intentional replication of the dismantled wooden barn which was originally located on this position". On the first floor of this barn is a private bedroom and a small, intimate attic.
This is a house that was born from dreams and started with an independent project triggered by a simple curiosity to transform a model into a vibrant paper world. Speaking of the building’s animation film ArchiPaper, Rafal Barnas of Unique Vision Studio shares, "The photographed model was transformed into a vibrant image, creating an unhurried, surreal story, immersed in an abstract world and constructed entirely from paper elements. An issue that pushed me towards the implementation of the concept of ArchiPaper was the fact that we are on the eve of the revolution in visual arts. Fotorealism is already reachable now […] and when it happens, […] there will be a sharp turn in the search for new means of expression in case of telling the story through image and sound”.