Public Opinion Ensures a Round Barn Remains True to Its Historic Design

In addition, post-tensioning rods were added throughout the 13-inch-thick foundation to help it withstand earthquake vibrations. “It’s an easy system that helps the barn float, in a sense, and also helps it from a lateral standpoint,” Teel adds. The slab houses electrical conduit and gas piping, as well as a radiant heating system.

Custom-fabricated steel stairs that truly look as though they are original to the barn.

Custom-fabricated steel stairs that truly look as though they are original to the barn.

“Even though the barn wasn’t going to be insulated, we wanted to have as low energy use as possible,” Teel says. “The radiant heating tempers the cold in the winter months. There are winter mornings here that can get down to the 20s and the system has done a good job of tempering that.” Conversely, during summer—when temperatures can reach 100 F—a 24-foot-wide fan provides high-volume air movement at low speed.

The existing cedar shingle roof also was in terrible shape but, fortunately, was repairable without requiring changes to the stunning wood tapestry that is the barn’s existing ceiling. “We had a really great roofing contractor here in town who replaced the cedar shingles; all the sheathing and small rafters are original,” Teel says. “With structural issues here in California, you start messing around with the roof and you might have to do some major renovations.”

In Plain Sight

The barn’s original floor plan contained horse stalls circling the perimeter of the first level with one window per stall. Above, a hayloft stored food and bedding for the horses. TLCD Architecture sought to celebrate the space’s original layout while finding places to hide the many program requirements of the new facility.

“The mezzanine—formerly the hayloft—is part of the secret of how this project came together,” Teel explains. “Ultimately we added the kitchen, restrooms and equipment rooms in a wedge below the mezzanine. We located two of what I’m calling secondary stairs on either end of the wedge, ensuring these items don’t take up even 50 percent of that lower space.”

In a move that pays homage to the barn’s history, 8- by 8-inch old-growth redwood posts that had supported the hayloft were replaced by steel tubes as part of the barn’s seismic retrofit but were re-milled for wall covering around the stairs and elevator shaft. “The contractors re-milled the posts and beams into about 5/8-inch-thick planks that we used in a butt-joint layout to create a rustic look,” Teel notes. “We didn’t finish it—just put it up board to board to board and fastened it on. I love that you can use reclaimed materials from that building in another fashion so the materials can be there for hopefully another 100-plus years.”

Flooring on the main level and mezzanine was created from reclaimed wood—an oak used in shipping containers.

Flooring on the main level and mezzanine was created from reclaimed wood—an oak used in shipping containers.

Flooring on the main level and mezzanine also was created from reclaimed wood—an oak used in shipping containers. Teel explains: “The wood was re-milled into an engineered floor with a 1/4-inch-thick piece of the oak laminated to an underlayer. It’s gorgeous wood with amazing colors that really play off of the creamy white paint of the barn. Everybody talks about the flooring when they go inside.”

Teel takes pride in the custom-fabricated steel stairs that truly look as though they are original to the barn. “These stairs take the curve of the outside wall at times; they do things that really kind of react to what this unique building is,” he says. “The stairs are not highly polished, not painted. You can see all the grind marks and where they have a bit of rust patina that was developed. They’re meant to look as though they changed over time like the barn has changed.”

About the Author

Christina A. Koch
Christina A. Koch is editorial director and associate publisher of retrofit.

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