A traditional barn in Switzerland transformed into living spaces for visiting musicians and artists.

Located in Boswil, Switzerland, this barn is part of a property built in the 1700s with an adjacent farmhouse. Gian Salis Architecture completed the renovation and conversion of the barn. The rustic-modern spaces offer music and art residencies from Künstlerhaus Boswil, a classical music foundation that organizes concerts, workshops, and events in the area. Simply built, the volume features a traditional construction method typical of the Aargau canton. Extensive conversions over the years transformed the original design slightly; for example, the addition of raised eaves that created an asymmetrical roof shape. The studio used wood for the renovation and conversion project, but in different finishes. While the supporting structure is spruce, the interiors feature fir surfaces and hornbeam furniture.

Interiors that complement their rustic character with modern comfort.

The team also recovered and re-installed the old floors, only washing the smoke-blackened planks to preserve their character. Inside the barn, darker colors mark the antique timber elements. The ground floor now contains offices, workshops, and storage areas, the latter placed in the former stables. In the upper floor, the studio designed seven guest rooms with their own bathrooms. The attic now houses rooms for music rehearsals, as this spaces have the best acoustics. A new staircase connects the floors. A roof tile window brings light into the attic area, illuminating a bridge that links two rooms.

The studio preserved original elements but also added new features and supporting structures, keeping a perfect balance between rustic and contemporary design. Changes include the addition of new rafters alongside the original ones and the installation of new windows behind the old openings. While the excellent condition of the facades meant that the walls needed only new insulation and supporting structures, some of the interior walls required new paneling. The studio also added fire protection systems and implemented various soundproofing measures. Photographs © Gian Salis Architecture.

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