Meier Road Barn StudioEdit profile
A painter and a collector, the two clients needed both an art studio and a barn to house a multitude of curiosities and memorabilia. Content and program-wise this was an exciting starting point. The project started as a renovation of an existing working barn on a vineyard property in Sebastopol, but turned into a new building after the existing structure was deemed unsalvageable.
The project brief was straight forward; provide large flexible spaces that could be used to store farm equipment, collectibles and an art studio. Since we then had a "clean slate" starting point, there were many potential conceptual approaches. Despite that, using the barn typology had instant appeal. The crisp dryness of the stereotypical utility building plan, cut to the bone, without excess or unused space gave us a sense of freedom. It also required us to "sharpen our pencils".
The main challenge became to create an ideal art studio within the barn vernacular. The answer was to invert the traditional gable barn roof to gain the right spatial height and provide the studio with the indirect northern light conditions for the artist. The traditional "barn bridge" / "låvebru" was pulled into the building, penetrating the structure, and allowing for an outdoor exposed entry to the second floor.
A quick sketch for a new barn was quickly delivered on the same footprint as the existing barn and built for just over $100 per square foot. Construction materials reflect the agrarian character of the previous building and functional nature of the new working barn.
The program was driven by the owners’ need for additional working space, climate safe storage of artwork / collectibles and the need to provide adequate space for a painter’s studio. The new building consists of 2,500 square feet and is wood framed with steel moment frames. They allow for the large utilitarian openings and spans required to maneuver tractors, and art work in and out of the building, while providing optimal light characteristics for the artist. Due to the decrepit nature of the existing barn structural system, demolishing it made the most budgetary sense.
The Norwegian owners have a love for wood as a construction material. 100-year-old reclaimed barn siding was used as the exterior cladding material, while budgetary and functional constraints led to plywood being chosen as the interior cladding material. This also resulted in an uncluttered feel that would go well with the multitude of artifacts to be stored there. Framing material and siding from the existing barn was used for cabinetry. The roof was constructed with rusted steel reminiscent of the previous barn structure’s roofing and siding.
An expansion of the project is currently being permitted and includes an amoeba-like structure to house a dining area with an interior jungle as well as a bird aviary. There also is discussion about a future hockey rink.
Description by architects