Architects transform barns into solar-powered workspaces for Dutch daredevil

(Image Courtesy: Instability We Trust)

Rotterdam-based architecture studio Instability We Trust transformed two barns into a set of contemporary workspaces for the famous Dutch daredevil, Wim Hof. Nicknamed ‘The Iceman’ for his ability to withstand extreme cold, Hof commissioned the adaptive reuse project to house his training seminars on the health benefits of cold exposure and breathing techniques. Located in Barneveld in the eastern Netherlands, the solar-powered building juxtaposes two visually contrasting volumes: an ‘extraverted’ glass house and an ‘introverted’ wooden cave-like structure.

The L-shaped building comprises two interconnected gabled structures with open and flexible interiors. The gabled glass house is almost entirely transparent with an outward atmosphere which relates to the air, whereas the gabled timber-clad structure has a grounded atmosphere which relates to the earth. Though the timber volume is without windows, its connection with the glass structure allows access to natural light. Large sliding doors open the volumes up the outdoors and permits natural ventilation.

Vertical planks of larch sourced from the sawmill next door clad the enclosed cave-like volume. The two gabled end walls were custom-made from clay plaster to create a warm and earthy environment that, combined with the suspended light sculpture, makes the space ideal for meditation. Photovoltaic cells and thermal cells generate renewable energy on site.

“A visually clean and calm appearance is accomplished by combining an array of different elements such as insulation, gutters, drainage pipes, sliding door rails, glass panels and structural beams into one carefully detailed wooden slatted element, almost like a click-on facade,” write the architects.


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