Have you ever looked at an old barn or longhouse and thought about the potential it has as a home? Well, this is exactly what the Poh Architects have done with this home project, affectionately called 'Studio Poh'.
It is located in Ustunomiya, Japan, a famous town for churning out jewels of modern Japanese architecture and design. In this case, Poh has done a stunning refurbishing job while maintaining the barn's original, organic materials and wide open atmosphere. Let's take a look!
Here we have the empty inner shell of the structure, complete with run down, peeling walls and dirt floors.
Not much light gets into this space, even with the four large doors and three or four windows. The upside is that it is a super solid, stand-alone structure, and therefore has lots of live-in potential.
Not surprisingly, the outside is in as poor a state as the inside, with withered roof shingles and various forms of refuse hanging about on a solid dirt front lawn, plus a near dead tree that adds a bit of the jeebies to the property.
How will Poh remake this place? Let's flash-forward to the present…
While this is not what we were expecting based on the before pictures of the inner shell, we are delighted nevertheless. To create more private space in the house, Poh have erected partition walls in the centre of the space, so that the outer edges have long hallways, stretching the length of the building. The effect of this is that, while there is more private space than before, the open feeling has not been taken away.
This picture has been taken from the kitchen, which looks out onto the living area. Here, an old fashioned coal fireplace sits daintily on a throne of modern bricks, providing much needed heat in the cold months. The decor has been kept understated, aside from two hand-painted hanging lamps that compliment the wood wall and beams nicely. Lastly, the large aged doors have been replaced with beautiful traditional Japanese wooden lattice doors which open out onto the new and improved front facade.
The original roof has been kept, however, with modifications to the roof beams in order to strengthen and polish. Several light-bringing skylights have also been installed, solving the irksome problem of dank and dreary that this space had suffered from before.
While the space appears to be pretty sussed for natural daytime light, we could imagine that spiffing up this open ceiling area with some nighttime spotlights might be a good idea.
What a much more welcoming sight than the last facade shot! From this outside view, we can see the longhouse's three sections, from left to right: the sleeping space, living and dining space and work space all the way at the right end.
Warm yellow lighting glows and illuminates the outer patio area with a warm shine – accented against the beach woods used to rebuild the outer walls. Most importantly, Poh have kept the traditional feel of the longhouse, and have chosen to simply update materials rather than overhaul them completely throughout the whole house.
If you are in the mood for some more Japanese architectural artistry, we recommend checking out this low-cost family dwelling!