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Can You Think Outside The Barn? Be Bold And Brave With Contemporary Farm Design

Tags: , , , , , , ,     Categories: Agritourism, barn design, farm design, VELD architect

Contemporary design for your farm, barn, shed or farmhouse
Modern Farm Shed, Sebringville

Barns and sheds sitting majestically on the landscape are also functional buildings. They serve a purpose on your farm, each unique in its own way. From farm to farm, the design may be similar, but no two are identical. Just as no two cows are the same, each building has its own history and story. Each is specifically designed for the site it was built on. But can your shed take on a bold and brave twist to become more contemporary?

Barns are such large buildings that it’s important to find a way to make them more scalable, more related to the size of a person. Is there a way to break up these big shapes and make them less monotonous or industrial and more interesting? How can you tell the story of your barn and let the beauty shine through? Could there be another option other than putting a timber porch on the front just to make it look pretty?

Make your bank barn contemporary

Simple modern details, clean lines, yet a striking connection to our heritage barns! Terre Bleu Lavender Farm, photo by ebbony&lune

Contemporary design is all about the current trends, taking cues from the site, the history and story of the farm and you as a farmer. It’s all about what you need. The bank barn makes such a powerful statement on the landscape, catching the attention of everyone. Why not take the opportunity to have your barn tell the world about your farm story?

Your barn can be clean, classy, and striking. You don’t need to have fussy details and fancy trim costing lots of money. You don’t need to mimic historic details with fake cupolas, shutters, expensive timber porches, or stone walls. Bold and simple, you can design an iconic structure. The building is timeless, serving you for generations. You want to respect the history of your farm as well as embrace the contemporary present.

Design the form to follow the function

As a professional architect, I always consider how the building functions on your farm. When I was designing my shed for my family farm, I kept in mind that I needed big doors to be able to maneuver. My husband didn’t want to back 6 wagons into the shed like a puzzle. These large doors are a different color than the rest of the building so they create an interesting, but functional dynamic. Why shouldn’t your barn or shed be beautiful?

Being a farmer, I enjoy working with clients who are fellow farmers.  For example, my coworker Rain has a goat farm and her bold and brave contemporary design would be to add a rock climbing wall to her barn. Now the goats and the children that come to visit can climb together. It’s her story, unique to her farm and her history.

You may be thinking about converting a barn into an on-farm store that’s open to the public. You’ll want to tell the history of your farm and your family’s story. You need to relate to the site, views, and understand how people will interact in the space. This can all be part of your contemporary farm design as you consider how the space will function best.

Use windows to enhance the experience

When I designed my shed, I added large, clear plastic strip windows to let in the sunlight. This way I can go into the shed during the day and I don’t need to turn on the lights. At the end of the day, the rays shine and I enjoy the sunset through the windows. And at night with the lights on, the barn illuminates the landscape.

A contemporary take on a dairy barn set in the mountains! Vejlskovgaard, by LUMO architects.

The strip of windows adds interest to the building and breaks up the monotonous shape. It also helps to scale down the size and make the barn better suited to people. I chose steel so I wouldn’t have to deal with the maintenance of wood and created a contrast between the light and the dark gray large shed doors. The effect is a bold and brave contemporary design that can be seen from all around. Shouldn’t your farm be a distinct symbol telling your story?

Cherish the land

Jim’s farm is on a rocky hill, a site with a large boulder. I performed a Site Analysis Report to look at the different constraints and opportunities for his project. Instead of removing the large boulder, as a professional architect, I decided to integrate it into the design. This saved Jim the cost of removal. Now the rock is a part of Jim’s farm’s story for generations to come.

Each farm is unique with its own landscape. When designing it’s critical to consider the site. As farmers, we know how important the land is and you can appreciate the views and the topography. Farms that have been in your family for years have a history that should be cherished. With a contemporary design, you can respect the past while looking toward the future.  

Want some more contemporary inspiration? Check out our curated Pinterest boards

Thinking outside the barn with a contemporary design

Whether you are renovating your barn or building a new shed, it’s time to give your farm buildings a more contemporary look. You can install windows for functionality as well as make a majestic statement in the landscape. Add a rock climbing wall or store to make your farm more inviting to the public.

When you are ready to tell your unique story, preserve your farm’s history and create a bold and brave contemporary design, contact us at 519-301-8408

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