The timber-wrapped coastal home is made of three linear stacked volumes and sits close to the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site

London-based practice, Coffey Architects has completed a coastal home with views over the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site and designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Dorset, UK.

Set on a sloped plot, Modern Barn is a cluster of three pitched volumes on a plinth made of local Blue Lias stone. It is wrapped in larch timber and arranged linearly along the sloping site to minimise profile and maximise space.

Replacing an existing, dilapidated three-bed house, the new home includes three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a study and a generous living/kitchen/dining area. Sitting deep within the landscape so as to not detract from the setting, the volumes appear almost submerged, though excavation work was minimal.

The brief was to create a cohesive home with room for autonomy, which separate living, study and sleep spaces. The single-storey elements are deliberately staggered behind one another to lessen the visual impact from the town and coast and to ensure the new home retained the scale and character of the existing building. The spaces are linked together in a linear formation, connected via a central stepped north/south axial corridor, driving views outward to the landscape.

Both the interior and exterior of the home are wrapped in timber. Outside, the naturally greyed cladding wraps over the roof, concealing gutters and forming a seamless profile. Larch batons create a crisp and linear facade, while the arrangement of the hit and miss louvres on both ends of the home adds texture.

Inside, the overlapping of the timber cladding with the primary glazed walls establishes a playful threshold. Oak panelling holds the warmth of the coastal light and provides a gallery wall space for the homeowners’ print collection.

Director Phil Coffey said: “At Modern Barn, there is a seamless integration of the external pattern and interior shadows which offers a compelling experience, imbues the building with a unique identity, and fosters a genuine sense of belonging to its surroundings. With a focus on sea, sunlight and warmth of materiality, this is a rich internal landscape in which to live.”

Furthering the idea of indoor/outdoor living, large terraces line the east and south elevations. Just outside the kitchen, a walled-in area is dedicated to the owners’ love of hosting barbecues. A window is strategically placed so that food and serving items can be passed with ease.

Facing the sea, a similar stone terrace spans the width of the house, ideal for watching the sunset.

Following completion of the house, the homeowners built a yurt to sit at the end of the garden, for guests to stay between their home and the coast. The structure is composed of bamboo slats, mirroring the larch batons that make up the composition of the main house.

Modern Barn was designed with passive design principles to embrace the sun where it is useful and protect from it when not. These moves include incorporating south facing glazing to maximise solar gain, a provision of solar shading in summer and the arrangement of windows to facilitate good cross ventilation.

Project details

Architect Coffey Architects
Principal designer Chris Cahill Ltd
Structural engineer AKS Ward
Phase 1 contractor, substructure A. Hammond & Sons Ltd
Phase 2 contractor, main build Gibbs Gordon
Services engineer Evergreen Renewable Energy Ltd.
Project manager Guy Bamford
External timber wall and roof cladding Russwood
External and internal stone Hadspen Quarry, Somerset
Doors and windows NorDan / Aspect
Ceramic tiles Domus
External floor paint to car port Sika
Roof cladding integrated fixing point system Nicholson Rooftrak IFP 200
Pocket doors Portman
Rooflights Roofglaze