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Thread: Adaptive reuse for barn preservation

  1. #1
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    Adaptive reuse for barn preservation

    New to the boards, so hello. I am collecting info on barn preservation through adaptive reuse (e.g. conversion to residential, commercial, etc.) I have found some info on the net, but I would like to chat with a real, live planner that has worked on something like this. Thanks

    Will

  2. #2
    I am not experienced directly with barn preservation, although I am a professional preservationist and my old garage is lovingly referred to as *The Barn*. Nonetheless, your on-line searches should include BarnAgain! and Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana's website as they are big into barn and farm preservation.

    I am more than happy to try to answer any questions about preservation (technical or regulatory) that you may have.
    Je suis Charlie

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ibbieta
    New to the boards, so hello. I am collecting info on barn preservation through adaptive reuse (e.g. conversion to residential, commercial, etc.) I have found some info on the net, but I would like to chat with a real, live planner that has worked on something like this. Thanks

    Will
    The Barns at Wolftrap in Vienna Virginia is two old barns that were moved to the site and are used for performances. From their website (http://www.wolftrap.org/performances/barnsfacts.html ):

    "Made up of two adjacent 18th century barns, The Barns were a gift from Wolf Trap's founder, Catherine Filene Shouse. Impressed by the acoustical quality of the wooden barn after attending a concert in one in Maine, she wanted to bring the same informal and acoustical setting to Wolf Trap.

    "She commissioned Richard W. Babcock of Hancock, Massachusetts, a master craftsman and barns historian, to identify two barns for relocation at Wolf Trap. He found The Barns in upstate New York and restored and rebuilt them on their present site using only the 18th century "block and tackle" methods, gin poles, ropes and manpower. Both barns are made of hand-hewn beams and panels, and the exterior walls have been reversed to show over 200 years of weathering.

    "The largest of the two barns is the German barn which serves as the theater, seating 284 on the threshing floor and another 98 in the hayloft. A unique feature of this barn, built around 1730, is the use of a "swing beam." Of German design, the swing beam enabled a team of horses to be turned around into their stalls without obstruction and provided additional support for an extra hayloft above.

    "The English barn, actually of Scottish design, was built about 1791 and is smaller in size than the German barn. It serves as a general reception area, preserving the tradition of the barn as a site of social gatherings and community functions."


    Also, I once represented the owners of an RV park that had an old barn on the property. They turned it into a recreation center for the RVers. It was an interesting zoning battle, but we were able to get permission.

  4. #4
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    I appreciate the help, I was not aware of the Wolftrap Barns. I have identified quite a few projects like this via the internet, projects usually characterized by a property owner with a "vision". These projects are great, and inspirational, but I am trying to figure out whether there has been any sort of programmatic response to encourage a policy of barn reuse and preservation.

    Currently the county I work in is rich in historical structures, but development threatens. For example, last week I accompanied the County Historic Preservation Planner to the site of a stone barn. It is tentatively dated at 1800-1850 (tentative because it may be older). It has even been adapted for use by a summer camp. However, a church is buying the property, and they don't want to deal with it, so it will probably be razed. The structure is sound, the building is gorgeous, and it will probably cost more to demo the structure than to reuse it. This, for a 200 year old building. Sad really.

    So I am trying to identify policy-level solutions to this issue, particularly local/county strategies to prevent the loss of our architectural heritage.

    Will



    Quote Originally posted by Otis
    The Barns at Wolftrap in Vienna Virginia is two old barns that were moved to the site and are used for performances. From their website (http://www.wolftrap.org/performances/barnsfacts.html ):

    "Made up of two adjacent 18th century barns, The Barns were a gift from Wolf Trap's founder, Catherine Filene Shouse. Impressed by the acoustical quality of the wooden barn after attending a concert in one in Maine, she wanted to bring the same informal and acoustical setting to Wolf Trap.

    "She commissioned Richard W. Babcock of Hancock, Massachusetts, a master craftsman and barns historian, to identify two barns for relocation at Wolf Trap. He found The Barns in upstate New York and restored and rebuilt them on their present site using only the 18th century "block and tackle" methods, gin poles, ropes and manpower. Both barns are made of hand-hewn beams and panels, and the exterior walls have been reversed to show over 200 years of weathering.

    "The largest of the two barns is the German barn which serves as the theater, seating 284 on the threshing floor and another 98 in the hayloft. A unique feature of this barn, built around 1730, is the use of a "swing beam." Of German design, the swing beam enabled a team of horses to be turned around into their stalls without obstruction and provided additional support for an extra hayloft above.

    "The English barn, actually of Scottish design, was built about 1791 and is smaller in size than the German barn. It serves as a general reception area, preserving the tradition of the barn as a site of social gatherings and community functions."


    Also, I once represented the owners of an RV park that had an old barn on the property. They turned it into a recreation center for the RVers. It was an interesting zoning battle, but we were able to get permission.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    I reemember one of the very first "this old house" programs I watched was about a barn raising. Doing a quick search it appears that it was in Concord Mass. Maybe somone there could be of help.

    A few links I found on google.

    http://www.endlesspools.com/whatis/w...hmagazine.html
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ibbieta
    Currently the county I work in is rich in historical structures, but development threatens. For example, last week I accompanied the County Historic Preservation Planner to the site of a stone barn. It is tentatively dated at 1800-1850 (tentative because it may be older). It has even been adapted for use by a summer camp. However, a church is buying the property, and they don't want to deal with it, so it will probably be razed. The structure is sound, the building is gorgeous, and it will probably cost more to demo the structure than to reuse it. This, for a 200 year old building. Sad really.
    In Virginia Beach about 25 years ago I saw a barn that was being used as a church. We called it the First Baptist Barn of Virginia Beach. I agree with you that someone with vision could do wonerful things with a stone barn for a church. Code issues might be substantial, but maybe not all that big. Mostly issues of access and exits.

    Are they aware that barns often have mangers in them?

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    Our conservation district dismantled a wooden barn and relocated it to their property, using it as the office and education center. The original farm is now a housing develoipment, and the barn would have been razed. I don't know if this method would be feasible for a stone barn, though.

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    Are there any mechanisms for protecting the stone barn? It certainly sounds like it warrants some protection. In my ignorance I have no idea of the US system of preserving historic buildings, but in the UK such a structure would have been 'listed', basically stopping demolition or destruction. Grants are then available for the constructive reuse of such buildings.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    I once saw a house built inside of barn. When the guy said he lived in the barn, I thought he was down on his luck, then he opened the barn door and there was a two bedroom one story house built inside. The house was completely free standing inside the barn.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    For the City that I work for, they moved a historic barn to a park area with some other historic buildings, and they now use it for indoor plays, concerts, and as the buffet area for festivals.
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

  11. #11
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    Check out this barn in Cobleskill NY, which was converted to office space. It's right of an interstate exit (I-88). Click on the link and scroll down to "crossroads barn"

    http://www.valleyviewrealty.com/comm...-property.html

  12. #12
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    ...also check out this link to barn conversions in the UK:

    http://www.findabuilder.co.uk/ideas/...conv/index.asp

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    Also, check the National Trust for Historic Preservation. They apparently have a barn preservation program called "Barn Again."

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Contact Chuck Law at the Local Government Center at the University of Wisconsin - Extension, or Todd Barmann with the Wisconsin Main Street Program, in the Department of Commerce. Both of them were instrumental in getting Barns Now started.

    I had a similar experience with a stone barn. A church (c. 1856) was putting on an addition and needed to remove a stone livery barn which had been part of a neighboring property, and proably dated to the 1850's. A group of local historic preservation buffs raised enough money to have the building thoroughly documented and disassembled. The old barn is now being stored in a barn and is available to be reassembled when funds and a use are identified. It is not as good a solution as leaving the barn in its original location, but at least it is not being used for fill under a parking lot.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  15. #15
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    adaptive reuse of historic structures

    Here is pending legislation to encourage and enable reuse of barns and other commercial/industrial structures, as well as houses. It has not yet been voted into law.
    http://www.talbgov.org/council/Bill979.pdf

  16. #16

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    i'm not sure if this will help but I was working on a planning exercise last term and I came across this website

    http://www.wychwoodbarns.com/

    i'm not even sure if wychwoodbarns is a barn at all but it's still considered as adaptive re-use..from what I have read. Hopefully this helps.

  17. #17
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    How is demolition "stopped"? Fines or punishment? And do the grants come from federal or local governments? Grants are in short supply here in the States (unless it is security related).

    Also, a big issue here is "demolition by neglect". That is when the owner kicks out a few panels and lets weather, rot etc bring it down. Does the UK have mechanisms for dealing with that?



    Quote Originally posted by noj
    Are there any mechanisms for protecting the stone barn? It certainly sounds like it warrants some protection. In my ignorance I have no idea of the US system of preserving historic buildings, but in the UK such a structure would have been 'listed', basically stopping demolition or destruction. Grants are then available for the constructive reuse of such buildings.

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