The Art Barn - a model of ‘slow architecture’

Tuesday, 16 March 2021

Art Barn

A distinctive example of ‘slow architecture’ has been revealed in Devon by Thomas Randall-Page, Associate Lecturer in Undergraduate Architecture.

The Art Barn has taken nearly a decade to complete. It has been purpose built as an archive and studio for his father, sculptor Peter Randall-Page. The structure has been dramatically transformed from an agricultural building and incorporates large volumes of space, light and ingenious elements such as an elevated drawing studio on timber legs, nicknamed ‘The Beast’.

Thomas Randall-Page commented:“Taking nine years to complete, The Art Barn has been a labour of love. The exterior was designed to follow the straightforward and utilitarian approach farmers have always taken to building barns. Using wood, stone, galvanised steel: the materials and technologies are simple, local and agricultural. The luxury is the time we spent talking, thinking and drawing.

“Fully off-grid, solar energy is gathered and stored both by the solar PV array and batteries, but also by the woods. Rainwater collection, filtration and storage complete the low impact building systems. Treading lightly, the Art Barn is fully sustained by woods and the weather, which both surround it.

“Peter’s trust, enthusiasm and patience as a client gave me a unique space to invent solutions from scratch, really consider how one material meets another, and be playful with the moving elements.”

The Art Barn was recently featured by The Observer’s Architecture section, which noted that the architecture of the building was in itself sculptural.  You can read the full article on The Guardian’s website.

Photo credit: Jim Stephenson