Studio Seilern creates secret library in English barn conversion

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Studio Seilern hides secret library at the heart of converted English barn

A book-lined room is concealed behind secret doors in this 17th-century barn conversion carried out by Studio Seilern Architects at an estate in Oxfordshire, England (+ slideshow).

Albion Barn by Studio Seilern Architect

Christina Seilern's London studio was asked to convert the barn, which forms part of the Old Blecher Farm in the village of Little Milton, into offices and an exhibition space to contribute to the upkeep of the estate.

Albion Barn by Studio Seilern Architect

Behind the barn's facade of blackened weatherboarding, the team created a suite of bright white office spaces, exhibitions areas and a dining room, all wrapping around the intimate library. They called the project Albion Barn.

The library is hidden behind four secret doors with integrated bookshelves, which close to complete a room lined on all four sides by books.

Albion Barn by Studio Seilern Architect

"While the galleries are pared-down in design, the library is somewhat whimsical," said Seilern, explaining how she wanted to give the reading room an intimate ambience that contrasts the brightly lit rooms surrounding it.

Albion Barn by Studio Seilern Architect

The library has a polished steel ceiling with an oculus in its centre. The reflective surface mirrors the space to create the illusion of a double-height room – Shanghai studio XL-Muse used a similar technique to create a disorienting bookstore.

Albion Barn by Studio Seilern Architect

The room is surrounded by a narrow mezzanine gallery with L-shaped steel balustrades, which provides access to books on the highest shelves.

Albion Barn by Studio Seilern Architect

Studio Seilern Architects also recently teamed up with fellow London-based architect Muzia Sforza to design a home and recording studio for a musician overlooking Africa's Gota Dam.

The property, which perches on a rock by the water's edge, features a secluded library that is wrapped in a coil of red concrete.

Photography is by Philip Vile.

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Site plan – click for larger image
Murman Arkitekter completes a Swedish villa that fans out in all directions
Floor plan – click for larger image
Murman Arkitekter completes a Swedish villa that fans out in all directions
Library floor plan – click for larger image
Murman Arkitekter completes a Swedish villa that fans out in all directions
Section – click for larger image