Old manor barn comes to life

The large grain barn at Engestofte Manor on the Danish island of Lolland has been transformed into a modern multi-purpose hall which can host weddings, parties and conferences. The barn also provides the setting for a food festival that draws people from all over Denmark.

Ceilings with Troldtekt acoustic panels in cultural institutions
Photo: Tommy Kosior, Troldtekt A/S

The topsoil is said to be particularly fruitful on Lolland, which is why estates and manors are more densely packed here than anywhere else in Denmark. The old Engestofte royal estate from 1475 on the shores of Maribo Søndersø is one of them. The manor was run as a forestry, hunting and agricultural property for many years, but the old grain barn underwent a complete renovation starting in 2013, so that Engestofte now also can be used for parties, conferences and events.

From the outside the barn still looks like an agricultural building, but inside it has been insulated so guests can keep warm. New windows offer extra natural lighting, and a modern industrial kitchen and toilets have also been added. Elegant oak floor planks have been laid on top of the barn’s old cement floor, and the ceiling has been clad with Troldtekt panels, with wooden strips that allude to the battens of the original barn ceiling. The acoustic ceiling plays an important role in the large, open barn.

“The ceiling is just over 11 metres high at its peak. We wanted good sound absorption, so the barn would be a place where people can listen to presentations and talk comfortably. Architect Mette Maegaard and I quickly arrived at Troldtekt when we searched for a good acoustic solution, and the result is both attractive and effective,” says Bo Bryndum, MAA, who was project architect for the renovation of Engestofte Manor.

Food festival

The structures in the large open room provide a sense of history. For example, elements from the old grain elevator have been preserved as far as possible. But the transformation from barn to multi-purpose hall also shows that the time is ripe for new stories to be written on the old manor. One of these is about nature, food and food culture. Engestofte was selected to host a food event drawing attendees from all over Denmark, with the aim of fostering a stronger community focused on everything from farm to table.

The event, Madens Folkemøde, was held for the first time on 10-11 May 2019. The barn was the primary setting for debates, presentations and workshops, but a smaller threshing floor at the other end of the barn was also put to use during the festival. There are no acoustic ceilings above the threshing floor, but acoustic screens were set up as a temporary solution, using sponsored Troldtekt acoustic panels. The screens were made by students from a local vocational education college.