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Tiny Barn Conversion Zigzags Rooms Vertically

A small barn in the village of St. Ulrich, Ortisei, Italy was in a state of ruin before Christian Schwienbacher was tasked with the job of transforming it into a two bedroom home. One side of the barn was attached to a firewall and could not be touched so the architect had only had 3 sides to work. Christian Schweinbacher was also not able to change the original volume and this meant the preexisting floor plan could not be touched and at 4×5.5m the footprint of the building was extremely small, meaning the architect needed to make the most of the 8m height.

Each room within the Haus in St. Ulrich is on its own level making the home a series of 6 split levels with a small bedroom on the lowest level, then covered parking, the entrance and a bathroom on the 2nd, the kitchen on the 3rd, dining and terrace 4th, living 5th and a second bedroom on the final 6th split level. Each room is clad in knotty wood on the floors, walls and ceilings and long linear windows with deep sills puncture the walls in a seemingly random pattern,
By creating multiple zigzagged layers of rooms, none of the stairs where too long, making the transition from volume to volume feel continuous and spacious.
The dining room is level with the carport roof – which was previously used as a 2nd level of car parking, but is now a large terrace for enjoying an outdoor lounging or dining.
The living room can make use of the stairs leading to the loft bedroom as extra seating when entertaining guests.
The loft bedroom is the 6th and final level of the home.
Bedrooms are on the first and last level with the first one being below grade.
It’s amazing what Christian Schwienbacher achieved within such a tiny footprint.
Christian Schwienbacher wanted to give a modern twist to a traditional wooden architecture and designed the home with a horizontal grid of wood cladding both inside and out. The architect punctuated the horizontal lines with the long linear windows that each fit within two rows of the wood siding and the final result is a modern minimalist exterior that still blends harmoniously with its more traditional surroundings.
The interior takes on the same appearance as the exterior except for the added detail of the deep window sills.
Christian Schwienbacher
Photography by Jurgen Eheim


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