bua studio converts dilapidated barn in iceland into artist's studio and dwelling

Nov 15, 2021

bua studio transformed a dilapidated barn in iceland into an artist’s studio and dwelling. dubbed ‘hloduberg artist’s studio’ the conversion emerges from the existing concrete structure maintaining a cohesive character with the fragmented buildings of the area. as part of the remaining walls were too fragile to be reused, the architects retained them in their original state, enclosing an open garden.

the ground level acts as a massive workspace including the artist’s studio, as well as a kitchen and dining space. there, the architects (see more here) sought to avoid the additional openings so as not to overload the structure. they only created two new ones: one to let more natural light penetrate the kitchen and one to create an entrance between the studio and the living area.

a staircase rises up the residents to a timber-clad mezzanine with a sitting area, creating visual connection through a double-height space. a row of openings lets natural light enter the interior and provides unobstructed views towards the coast and the mountains. the first floor or domestic sphere accommodates a small sitting room, two double bedrooms, and a bathroom.

there, the architects maintained a muted palette of materials informed by local vernacular interiors: walls and floors are wrapped in white stained pine boards. meanwhile, at the end of the hallway, a double-height studio is revealed, offering a different perspective to observe emerging artworks. ‘given the remote location and for economic and environmental reasons, our clients shared our goal to minimize waste material wherever possible,’ mentioned the studio.

the gabled shape of the construction echoes the initial silhouette, while the new corrugated aluzinc highlights the new supplement. its reflective material follows the color of the sky and meadow around the house, changing with the seasons and weather.

‘this allowed us to extend to a second storey without overpowering the concrete barn. from our experience working in harsh climates, this rather industrial material is one of the few cladding options that can withstand the extremes of weather. the corrugation is also a reference to a local building tradition. from the early 20th century corrugated steel has been used diffusely in iceland in rural and urban settings for all typologies. most dwellings and farm buildings in the area are partly or completely clad in this material,’ said the architects.

project info:

name: hloduberg artist’s studio

architects: bua studio

location: skardsstrond, iceland

photography: marino thorlacius