Balancing Barn by MVRDV and Mole Architects


Balancing Barn by MVRDV

This cantilevered house in Suffolk, England, by MVDRV of Rotterdam and British firm Mole Architects is nearing completion and will be the first of five homes from Alain de Botton’s Living Architecture project available for rent on 22 October. Update: this project is included in Dezeen Book of Ideas, which is on sale now for £12.

Balancing Barn by MVRDV

Living Architecture (see our previous story) is a series of holiday homes around the UK designed by established and emerging architects. The homes also include designs by Peter Zumthor, Jarmund and Vigsnæs Architects, NORD and Hopkins Architects.

Balancing Barn by MVRDV

More than 50 percent of the Balancing Barn is suspended above ground with a glazed section built into its suspended floor.

Balancing Barn by MVRDV

For more information see our previous story on the Balancing Barn.

Balancing Barn by MVRDV

Here’s a little from Living Architecture:

The Balancing Barn

Designed by the Dutch firm MVRDV, The Balancing Barn is located near the Suffolk towns of Walberswick and Aldeburgh.

It is a startling feat of engineering, where 50 per cent of the barn hangs in free space. Lettings will begin on 22 October 2010.

See also:


Pushed Slab
House of Culture
China Hills

Posted on Tuesday September 28th 2010 at 2:32 pm by Joe Mills. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • What a sausage… by MVDR "Talkers".
    (Good engineering for such cantilevering that's for sure)

  • ted

    Where is the swing? !

    The cladding could be more delicate than this. Maybe it's not as smooth assembled as it should be or it's the wrong material.

  • salf

    yikes!…….looks even worse than the renderings.

  • Tif

    Nice those gigantic beams in front of your window. Room with a view. Call this engineering? I call this adding lots of material…..

  • You can actually see it deflected down a bit. Shoulda built it bent upwards a bit to neutralise the anticipated deflection.

  • Gravy

    That mobile home wasn't "parked" properly, and now it is going to slide all the way down that tiny hill!

  • nicholas

    you'd have to pay my kids to sit on a swing in such a gloomy underpass; anymore than hold a balloon on a string there.

  • Axio

    Fantastic effect for the final product, I would love to spend time there. But I fail to see how its an engineering marvel. Its a glorified wood truss (see interior shot and window areas of exterior shots), cladded up to look like a normal barn, attached to what is probably an immense weight of concrete within the hill. Clever for sure.

  • Anger of the North

    I've seen several MVRDV buildings "in the flesh" and all of them are rather cheap looking. They spend so much of the budget on flashy tricks that everything else looks like it's been cobbled together. Surely people are going to get bored of them soon?

  • FU UP

    yer it needs the swing :(
    the cladding is terrible it reminds me of the classic American air stream trailer designed in the 60s

  • noyz

    It's harmful for the eye to see those trusses crossing the windows, it's sad to read that best feature of this project is that "50 per cent of the barn hangs in free space". How much will cost the rent ?, must be crazy, perhaps it's related to the cantilever, 100 pounds per cantilevered inch, haha…

    I miss the swing too, has the highlight of the project.

  • samuel

    That's a bad copy of "casa de fim-de-semana no Gerês, do ateliê graça.correia arquitectos". And this is UGLY AS HELL! Maybe this hollywood architects would learn a little something from the portuguese architecture. Greetings.

  • I like all those suicide doors. Nice touch.

  • jane

    looks like a house wrap in tin foil… with tetris interior…

  • jaume

    original is much better. this is just a bad copy.
    see the house of de portuguese studio correia-ragazzi

  • steve

    looks like a butlins chalet that's been undermined, and jazzed up with foil. cool

  • M…

    More pictures of the interior please!!

  • Fran

    Ask a psy what that kind of project means …

  • fun architecture is the best architecture.
    any pictures of construction and plans?

  • Doug C

    I suppose I'm the only one who likes the cladding and MVDR specifically for the cheapness of their finishes. The conceit of the cantilever is a bit rich however. An architectural reason for it to exist might help.

  • Bobby D

    how long before it fails?

  • Jim

    Hope there's not any ice storms where its built, or that they took into consideration the extra weight of a bunch of icicles hanging under the edges of the structure during an ice storm.

  • rollo

    the swing is on it's way

  • yipe1000

    toto, we're not in kansas anymore.

  • mgerwing

    any explanation as to why it does this? Is the part that hangs over space the "public" or "private"? what is the thought behind this probably expensive engineering to create a not-so-nice space below if there isn't some meaning behind this kind of a move?

  • hdxtst

    The engineering of the cantilever is the greatest part of the project. Only nature can test it itself. I wouldn't like to be there if that happens. hahaha!

    I like the concept as a concept itself, as something built its a little bit absurd; shocking form against function or a real essential need. the only justified reason I could find if it depended of the site boundaries

    Would someone prefer windows obstructed by a diagonal beam? …. apparently someone does!! Though, I like the glassed floor of the living room.

  • pim

    the window in the floor is kinda cheesy..

  • ricardo

    the vierendeel beams in disguise…. maybe it's a bridge to… be decorated


  • craig.g

    where's the swing?

  • boyofdon

    I could run around London poking people in their left eye. There is no reason to do it other than the fact that I can…………………….if you follow me.

  • simon

    it needs a swimming pool underneath to jump into!

  • angel_of_beats

    3,2,1 ignition! perfect for reflecting space radiation

  • I love cantilever houses. I wait till builders get new better, lighter and stronger materials – nano technology. Then cantilever architecture becomes much more popular.

  • I'm not a great fan of the facade, but wow … that's very impressive :)