Barn structures vary in style and building material across the Alps but in the Belluno region of the Italian Dolomites they are traditionally built in wood and stone, featuring two floors; the bottom level used as stables and the top as haylofts. In a UNESCO World Heritage site in Selva di Cadore, Italian architecture practice EXiT have taken a classic Belluno barn and successfully reworked it for the 21st century.
The Treviso-based architects took two years to complete the family holiday home. They carefully removed the historical wooden elements and structural joints of the existing structure for cleaning and restoring, before they reassembled them, and opened up the interior layout to create a spacious living area on the top floor.
At the same time, they reinforced the building with a steel structure, sometimes visible and sometimes hidden behind the wood. The selected materials - larch and fir wood, Dolomia stone, black steel, white rough plaster - also match the original structure and frame the several private and service areas of the house.
The 220 sq m structure is not only beautifully preserved but it is also fully energy self-efficient, through the use of a photovoltaic system on the roof and electric under floor heating. Sustainable, energetically as well as historically, the barn is a perfect mountain retreat.