In the South of the Netherlands many big monumental square farms are empty and are waiting in their beauty for re-use with new functions. The history of the farms is interesting in relation to the landscape and in the relation to old functions. The square plan around an inner court makes beautiful spaces and makes many functions possible.
The wooden construction of the farms and the stables are due to keep and to make new functions in it.
The aim of this project was to research and design the topics of sustainability, ecology and autarky on the one hand and the re-use of monumental square farms in the south of the Netherlands.
Since these farms are too big to house a single household, the possibility arises to look for different functions in these farms, think of multiple households (small community), educational functions, cultural functions or different kind of health functions.
Each student was free to choose a farm and a function of their own choice.
This monumental square farm is located at the main road in the hamlet of Sint Gerlach in a rural context. During the total lifetime of the square farm there have been several interventions. The farm was build in the year of 1683. In the year 1934 there was a major fire in the northern barn of the farm. This fire took a lot of damage to the farm, which is still visible at the wooden trusses in the east and west wings of the farm. After this fire the northern barn had to be rebuild. Also the court, which previously was used as a dunghill was damped. Because the original walls of the facade were made of wood and loam, there also have been much maintenance to these constructions. The inner facade of the residential house was in very bad shape, so there was an intervention in the year 1964 were they rebuild the inner facade with a cavity wall and at the same time they changed the whole interior of the residential house with a new floor and separation walls. The basement and the attic are preserved in the original shape. The farm became a monumental building, so in 1974 Monuments-care renovated the outer facades of the farm. Nowadays the former farm functions aren’t used anymore.
ATTITUDE TOWARDS HISTORY
The current state of the farm has few original elements dated from 1683. Only those elements which have been preserved must be handled with care and given a high priority in the new design. All other parts of the current farm, which are in good condition but haven´t historical values, could be changed or demolished.
The preserved historical characteristics of the original farm are the most valuable in this design. Those original elements have been preserved in the new design with a high priority. So they must be seen! The historical elements which have been disappeared from the original farm will return in the new design, but in a contemporary way to create a contrast with the original characteristics.
The new function for the farm is called public farming. This means running a farm with public functions. There will be living one family in the original residence wing of the farm and this family will maintain and manage the whole farm with its new functions. The new functions are based on culture, tourism, autarky and business. New spaces are designed through the existing constructions of the farm. New floor areas have been created between the existing grid of the wooden trusses which create a spatial whole. Voids and walkways between these existing structures will ensure that the old characteristics remain clearly visible through the entire building. The contemporary additions to the farm are detailed very perfectionistic to create a strong contrast with the original historic details of the farm.