As any casual observer of this ‘drawg’ will note, I have quite an affinity for the vernacular architectures of the Americas. My family’s winter trips to rural Oklahoma have offered me a greater opportunity to acquaint myself with the seemingly endless variety that the vernacular languages offord.
This is yet another home in a barn – yet this time a quonset-roofed barn, where the structural rigidity of the expansive roof comes from its circular geometry rather than the elaborate king-post trusses typical of agrarian structures. The top variation uses shed roof lean-to’s to house ancillary spaces, while placing main living areas under the quonset proper, while the section and plan below explore formal variations on the quonset itself.
Today’s project takes its impetus from the tithe barn (Fr. grange dimiere), medieval structures used to collect villagers’ tithes, which prior to the proliferation of cash was often given as a portion (one tenth) of the individual’s harvest. These cumulative tithes required an elaborate barn to store them for safekeeping throughout the following year. The structures are fabulous syntheses of the ecclesiastical and the secular – large, windowless stone or brick fortresses with soaring trussed, nave-like, roofs.
Barn conversions are fascinating to me, with the domesticization of the agricultural, and the tithe barn is no less so. This project attempts to take the typical tithe barn and meet it with the domestic, with a large enclosed courtyard to compliment the truss-framed living room.
Today, a barn, a square, and some fun with drawing projections. If you’ve spent any time looking at my posts, you’ll know that I have a penchant for vernacular architectures, especially the banal agricultural buildings that dot the majority of America’s varied landscapes. The barn is probably the epitome of those forms, and heavy timber framed barns seem to more or less rise from the earth itself.
This particular barn is my interpretation of the timber framed variety, with my love of formal rigor – the square. The plan is a large four-square frame, with a double-wide central ‘nave’ and two single-wide ‘aisles’. Large, folding doors frame the ends, with small punched windows the sides. Since this barn is not intended to be utilitarian, the flooring is gridded black basalt pavers, with two large concrete decks on either end.
The drawings are all halves – the plan is half floor plan, half roof plan; the axonometric is half aerial, half wormseye; the oblique axon is also half & half; the elevation is half the side, half the front.
Another trip to Oregon with my wife has yielded yet another flurry of agriculturo-vernacular projects. This one is a barn, made a square, with exposed gothic-arched framing inside, and two shed-roofed wings to the side. Two planters reflect these wings to create a larger cruciform plan. Exposed diagonal beadboard makes up the wall treatment inside, while white painted board-and-batten the exterior walls and roof.
Most of the time, the drawings I post on frame are more complete, polished, and thought out. Often, they are the reworking of previous ideas, or different ways of representing an already designed form. But that is not to say that I never do quicker, rougher, sketches. Indeed, often these early sketches lie buried underneath more ‘finished’ drawings. But today, I thought I’d share a few nascient ideas before they got worked through:
The top drawing began two discussions of halls-and-hearths (here and here); the below sketches reflect some agricultural forms I encountered on a long road-trip; a small cubic ‘house’ with a telescoping tower; another small cubic structure, with a large spire and a funky base condition; and a constructed mesa, a futile and humble attempt to capture the grandeur of those immense landforms (and not wholly unalike Hans Hollein’s landscrapers).
Continuing my exploration of rural agricultural form, this square cabin-like-structure plays on ideas of symmetry, complete and incomplete form, nine-square and four-square planning, all within the guise of simple vernacular architecture. The side elevation was the generator, with an overall symmetrical gable, infilled below with a colonnade on one end, a blank wall on the other, and a large picture window on center. The plan operates between the three bays of this side elevation and four running perpendicular, with a long vaulted living-sleeping room flanked by the porch-colonnade on one end and a long kitchen-toilet-service gallery opposite. A study of potentially running a barrel vaulted ceiling the length of the main living hall is at the bottom.
Continuing last week‘s Californian agricultural experiments, this small structure (which I’m titling a ‘cabin’, but really is a programless form) is square in plan with a pitched roof running in one direction, terminating in a dutch gable at the far end over a colonnaded porch and a large circular window in the gable face, and cantilevering over the entry portico, where two identical doors reference the four-square floor plan. The language owes much to Richardson, filtered through the vernacular, with a shingle roof, clapboard walls, and a flemish bond brick base.
Taking cues from the myriad of agricultural and vernacular forms I spotted on my trip up Yosemite-way the other week, this small square structure features a prominent gable on two ends, with a raised, ventilated mini-gable at the center bay, and a lantern above that on the center bay. The eaved sides are treated as small colonnades, with single doors running each length.
Taking its form from some barn structures I passed on my trip to Oregon, this house has two opposing axes, one large gable, and a hip-ish roof. A spiral stair gently curves out on the side opposite the main entry. Classical details sit happily next to vernacular forms. Further formal explorations below
Following up on two themes from my northward journey, I’m giving you a look into two ideas, both alike in simplicity. The Coast: a cabin, square with a large hip roof over a wrap-around porch, and elevations that need a good fleshing out. Farmland: a barn, with deep eaves on three sides, enclosed in glass behind.