One of the most frequent questions from people we meet is "What kind of architecture do you do?".  Great question.  And well, when you approach design from a holistic standpoint and build your team with experts (instead of specializing)... it can sometimes lead to a long winded answer.  So when we started working on a barn it turned about to be the perfect example for us to share and stretch people's conception of the type of projects we work on.  Because, when was the last time you met someone who said they are designing a barn?   

And so, here's a part of the design story...


Located on a 72 acre ranch in the hills of the Central Coast, CA… there is a hillside building pad that on a clear day hints towards a view of the Pacific Ocean.  The Ranch is about Saturday afternoon picnics with wine and watching their boy run around in the hillside wild flowers.  It’s about all day hunting trips with the boys.  And morning hikes at dawn along the hillside ridges.

Add a shelter (a BARN), and the client has the opportunity to facilitate these activities more often during all seasons of the year.  Perhaps even a weekend excursion on The Ranch.

The coastal morning fog is year round in the hills on The Ranch.  It burns off quickly in the summer months, easily reaching the 90s and dry.  And during the Fall and Winter months it is not a surprise for valleys to stay mystically hidden all day.

The program is simple.  A 3,000 SF shelter.  

Sharing a bottle of wine…
We transition from a standard barn kit of parts to a standard barn + an architect.  And there is a standard barn kit of parts BUDGET + “a little.”
The site is chosen (pad graded).   The orientation chosen (long south exposure).  Kit of parts chosen (steel structure and siding).
How can we make this BARN different?  Perhaps cool.
How can we enjoy this BARN while off the grid?
What materials are going to withstand the elements and have texture?
And a truck has to drive around in there, it is a BARN.

Let’s make it fun!

The process was a conversation.  A back and forth, sharing.  The first solution was to solidify a long distance dialog.  Texts, screen shares and phone calls later.  Still a success.

From there we started by identifying the efficiency and value in a kit of parts.  The steel structure stands out in efficiency and longevity.  The moment frames allow for large, 360 degrees of openings.  Providing cross ventilation from the valley winds, visual moments of the hillside grasses, on a clear day the ocean and lastly… openings for that truck.  It was hard to argue with the client’s love of corten steel to solve the exterior cladding.  The simple long term lack of maintenance couple with the aging beauty.  On Weathering.  The design priority became bringing the openings and materials in a cohesive, organized and modern solution.

Off the grid… (Net Zero?)
Gabion seat walls made with on-site rocks (Down a hill and over a ridge)
Up-cycled storage containers (Wine cave)
5kW PV array (Did we mention being off the grid?)
Extensive roof overhangs to shade the exterior surfaces a majority of Spring and Summer days (No roof overhang excess on the elevations that self shade)
Roof and Site water collection into underground cistern for site use (Well water for the potable)
Low E glazing + daylight and views for Everyone

Be sure to check out our PORTFOLIO entry for more details and imagery.  Construction is starting soon as well!