Launch Slideshow

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Raising the Barn

Raising the Barn

  • The Mason Land Fram Operations facility provides space for servicing and storing farm equipment, as well as seasonal storage for grain and hay.

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    The Mason Land Fram Operations facility provides space for servicing and storing farm equipment, as well as seasonal storage for grain and hay.

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    Roberto de Lon

    The Mason Land Fram Operations facility provides space for servicing and storing farm equipment, as well as seasonal storage for grain and hay.

  • The project is comprised of two barns in a V configuration.

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    The project is comprised of two barns in a V configuration.

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    Roberto de Lon

    The project is comprised of two barns in a V configuration.

  • Barb B is made of multilayered bamboo latticework.

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    Barb B is made of multilayered bamboo latticework.

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    Roberto de Lon

    Barb B is made of multilayered bamboo latticework.

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    Roberto de Lon

    Inspiration for Barn B's latticework came from the bales of hay stored within.

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    The Mason Lane Farm Operations Facility includes a geothermal heating system that keeps the barn warm, even when the doors are open in the winter.

  • Utilitarian materials ilne the interior of Barn A, including Homasote, OSB and particle board.

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    Utilitarian materials ilne the interior of Barn A, including Homasote, OSB and particle board.

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    Roberto de Lon

    Utilitarian materials ilne the interior of Barn A, including Homasote, OSB and particle board.

  • Barn A maintains a simple material palette that eliminated the need for finish materials.

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    Barn A maintains a simple material palette that eliminated the need for finish materials.

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    Roberto de Lon

    Barn A maintains a simple material palette that eliminated the need for finish materials.

  • Contrasting views of Barns A and B.

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    Contrasting views of Barns A and B.

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    Roberto de Lon

    Contrasting views of Barns A and B.

  • In contract, Barn A features a prefabricated wood truss frame clas in corrugated metal wall panels.

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    In contract, Barn A features a prefabricated wood truss frame clas in corrugated metal wall panels.

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    Roberto de Lon

    In contract, Barn A features a prefabricated wood truss frame clas in corrugated metal wall panels.

  • The V configuration of the site allows a tree line to act as a natural windbreak and encourages stormwater drainage along pitched, pervious surfaces.

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    The V configuration of the site allows a tree line to act as a natural windbreak and encourages stormwater drainage along pitched, pervious surfaces.

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    Roberto de Lon

    The V configuration of the site allows a tree line to act as a natural windbreak and encourages stormwater drainage along pitched, pervious surfaces.

  • Barn A also has a radiant heating system embedded in the concreete slab and a boiler that burns wood debris from the farm.

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    Barn A also has a radiant heating system embedded in the concreete slab and a boiler that burns wood debris from the farm.

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    Roberto de Lon

    Barn A also has a radiant heating system embedded in the concreete slab and a boiler that burns wood debris from the farm.

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    The designs encourage natural ventilation.

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    The designs encourage natural ventilation.

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    Roberto de Lon

    The designs encourage natural ventilation.

  • The Mason Lane Farm Operations Facility

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    The Mason Lane Farm Operations Facility

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    Roberto de Lon

    The Mason Lane Farm Operations Facility

  • A detailed view of the construction of the bamboo lattice work on Barn B shows how the twisted, galvanized rebar ties hold the bamboo together. They can be adjusted as the stalks expand or contract.

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    A detailed view of the construction of the bamboo lattice work on Barn B shows how the twisted, galvanized rebar ties hold the bamboo together. They can be adjusted as the stalks expand or contract.

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    Roberto de Lon

    A detailed view of the construction of the bamboo lattice work on Barn B shows how the twisted, galvanized rebar ties hold the bamboo together. They can be adjusted as the stalks expand or contract.

Although they met as graduate students at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Roberto de Leon, AIA, and Ross Primmer, AIA, decided to practice in Louisville, Ky. Inevitably, the barn typology of the region has influenced the work of De Leon & Primmer Architecture Workshop, including its design for the Mason Lane Farm Operations Facility. This facility, which provides space for servicing and storing farm equipment, as well as seasonal storage for grain and hay, is a contradiction in the countryside: agricultural structures that house equipment used to work prime farmland but that also have a reduced environmental impact.

The architects gained LEED Silver certification by carefully siting the buildings, avoiding complicated technical systems, and focusing on passive strategies. Two structuresdubbed Barn A and Barn Bare angled to encourage stormwater drainage along pitched, pervious surfaces into nearby rain gardens. This V-configuration allows a tree line to act as a natural windbreak between the buildings and conceals the barns from view of a nearby road.

Maintaining dark sky conditions was a priority since the farm serves as an astronomical observation site for the University of Louisville. De Leon & Primmer aimed lighting towards the center of the courtyard. CFLs are connected to a timer system that features manual override, allowing for a quick switch between farming and star-gazing modes.

The architects employed passive strategies and humble, low-maintenance materials for both barns. The enclosed, 7,540-square-foot Barn A (left in the photo above) features a prefabricated wood truss frame clad in corrugated metal wall panels. On the interior, a grid of utilitarian materials including Homasote, OSB, and particle board is refined; nailing guidelines created a decorative pattern, eliminating the need for finish materials. A radiant heating system is embedded in the concrete floor slab and fueled by a boiler that burns wood debris from the farm to maintain comfortable temperatures for workers, even when the barn doors are open.

In contrast, the 9,160-square-foot Barn B (right in the photo above) features an airy envelope, comprised of multilayered bamboo latticework. The architects drew inspiration from the stacked pattern of square hay bales that are stored within. Though bamboo seems an unlikely choice for a barn, it was harvested only 35 miles from the site and proves a breathable and resilient material, withstanding the occasional ding from farm equipment. The twisted, galvanized rebar ties that hold the bamboo together can also be adjusted with an awl as the stalks expand or contract.

De Leon & Primmer’s practical approach worked: energy-modeling software measured a 34.2 percent reduction in energy use over traditional construction for the facility, with cost savings of 34.8 percent.