Morlands Farm Dutch Barn, Henfield Building, West Sussex Property, Sandy Rendel Architects English Architecture

Morlands Farm Dutch Barn, West Sussex, UK

5 May 2022

Seven projects have been awarded Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) South East Awards.

Morlands Farm Dutch Barn, Henfield, West Sussex, south east England, UK

Design: Sandy Rendel Architects

Morlands Farm Dutch Barn
photograph : Richard Chivers

Morlands Farm Dutch Barn, Henfield, West Sussex, England

Jury Report

Morlands Farm is a private house with a big difference: the clients have created a wonderful eight-acre public garden, wanting to live as well as work in the midst of this landscape. This means sharing their lives with the public who come to see their Sussex Prairie Gardens.

To achieve this they commissioned Sandy Rendel Architects to convert a historic Dutch Barn that sat within the garden, making use of planning rules that allow the conversion of agricultural buildings outside of traditional development boundaries.

Morlands Farm Dutch Barn
photo : Jim Stephenson

Such conversions can often lose the character of the original building. However, at Morlands Farm the architects have successfully turned the existing structure into a contemporary house that carries a quiet authenticity. Through careful detailing and research into materials, the building retains the feel of the original ‘black wrinkly tin’ barn, whilst the large, abstractly-positioned windows give a contemporary look that speaks also of the ways that such barns are patched and change over time.

Morlands Farm Dutch Barn
photo : Rachael Smith

Inside, the house is ‘upside-down’: the ground floor contains light-filled bedrooms and an office for administering the gardens, but the real magic is upstairs. Rough-sawn timber stairs lead up to a single large space with a great curving vaulted ceiling which follows the shape of the roof. Here the architect’s skill has conjured a space that feels grand and yet also intimate and warm, which creates different zones for different activities without losing the sense of the whole. Bold but not garish colours, and careful placing of bookshelves and window seats combine with a confident positioning of windows to allow the moments and activities of everyday life to connect with the garden and the wider landscape of the South Downs beyond.

Morlands Farm Dutch Barn
photo : Jim Stephenson

A final flourish encapsulates the joyful nature of this project: the clients asked for a viewing tower next to the house, for the public to enjoy an elevated view of the garden. Constructed from Corten steel, this cylindrical tower is suggestive of agricultural grain silos and so complements the main house. At the end of a long day working in the garden, after the public have left, the clients can cross a bridge from the house to the top of the tower where it becomes a secluded private terrace.

Morlands Farm Dutch Barn
photo : Richard Chivers

RIBA region: South East
Architect practice: Sandy Rendel Architects Ltd.
Date of completion: June 2019
Date of occupation: June 2019
Client company name: Paul & Pauline McBride
Project city/town: Henfield

Contract value: £496,000.00
Gross internal area: 219.00 m²
Net internal area: 192.00 m²
Cost per m²: £2,265.00 / m²
Contractor company name: Harfrey Construction Ltd.


Structural Engineers: Structure Workship
Quantity Surveyor / Cost Consultant: Holpen Associates
Approved Building Inspector: Stroma Building Control


• RIBA Regional Award
• Regional/RSAW Client of the Year
• Regional Small Project of the Year
• Regional Award Short List

2022 RIBA South East Award Winners

2022 RIBA South East Award winners

House designs

Morlands Farm Dutch Barn, Henfield, West Sussex – 2022 RIBA South East Award winners images / information received 040522

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RIBA South East Awards

RIBA South East Awards Archive

RIBA South East Awards Winners 2018

RIBA South East Awards Shortlist 2018

RIBA South East Awards 2017

Location: Morlands Farm Dutch Barn, Henfield, West Sussex, South East England, UK

RIBA Awards Past Winners

RIBA Awards Winning Buildings + Architects

RIBA Awards

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Stirling Prize

RIBA Royal Gold Medal

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