We haven’t received our copy of the March 2010 issue of Dressage Today yet (the DC blizzard last week made it nearly impossible for mail delivery in the District). If you have the March issue handy, please take a minute to read my response in the Ask the Experts section of the magazine and let me know how I did. The question I was presented with: What difference does a green barn make to a horse? What are the most important elements to consider when designing sustainably?
That question came from Diane Barber, owner of the Los Angeles-based firm Equestrian Designery – Interior Design for Equestrians, which specializes in—you guessed it—equestrian-style interior design. Diane is also an avid equestrian and author of several articles about her equestrian experiences for publications like Dressage Today. Some of her work may be viewed on her Web site here.
Anyway, I’m not sure if this particular Q & A will make it to the Equisearch Web site, home of magazines like Dressage Today and Practical Horseman, but they do maintain an online compilation of Ask the Experts that you may be interested in reading.
My wife pointed an article out to me a few weeks ago and I’ve been meaning to post it, although I’m sure many of you have seen it by now. It’s an article in the New York Times about Ann Leary, a writer and the wife of the actor and comedian Denis Leary. Ann is a horse lover—actually, an animal lover in general—and has written a couple of books and maintains a pretty amusing blog. Some of her blog entries are about her horses, others are about life on the farm she shares with her family in Connecticut, and others still are just about life in general. All in all, a good read you might want to keep bookmarked. Definitely check out the New York Times article if you haven’t already, if only to look at the photos of her family’s beautiful horses and their 1850s farmhouse.
If you haven’t yet, please read this article by Joe Drape for the New York Times about the malnourished and neglected horses found at Ernie Paragallo’s farm in upstate New York. In April of this year, the thoroughbred breeder and owner Paragallo was arrested and eventually charged with 35 counts of cruelty to animals. Since then, horse lovers across the county have come to the rescue for many of these animals. While that doesn’t change what these horses went through, it’s comforting to reaffirm what most of us already know: that the horse community is filled with people who are willing to go the extra mile to help a horse in need.
Blackburn is pleased to be a part of Build-On: Converted Architecture and Transformed Buildings by the Berlin-based publishing house Gestalten. The collection showcases extraordinary adaptive reuse projects designed by a variety of architects. Blackburn’s renovation of an 1800s bank barn into a “party barn” in Leesburg, Virginia is featured. The book is available through Gestalten and book retailers worldwide.
I thought I’d share some photos of the ongoing renovation of the bank barn project in Ohio. The last time I wrote, the barn–which is being converted into a guest house–had just been relocated to a new position on the site in order to maximize views. (An important feature considering the extensive porch/decking that will outfit the rear of the barn.)
Recently, the crew installed SIPS panels on the roof and walls to insulate the barn without compromising the old barn’s interior. The exterior of the SIPS were then clad in reclaimed barn wood to give the exterior the same “old barn” feel as the interior while still providing the owner with the modern comforts expected in today’s homes. The original slate shingle was carefully removed and replaced with SIPS attached to the original roof boards. We never anticipated reusing all of the original slate, for fear that too much of it would break, but I’m happy to report that– in the end– no new slate was needed.
A lot of care has gone into maintaining and restoring the original character of the barn including the replication of the original rafter tails and the thin profile of the roof overhang. The four louver windows on the front and rear of the building were replicated as well as the large (soon-to-be-louvered) windows at both gabled ends. The louvers at the front and rear are hinged like an old fashion shutter, concealing the operable, double hung low-e windows. The large barn doors at the front can close across the entire window wall and entrance for maximum privacy or security.
The next phase will complete the interior work (including the grand fireplace that is a centerpiece of the large open living area) and construct the porch and decking at the rear of the barn.
One of our recent projects, Sagamore Farm, was written about in the May 10, 2009 issue of the Baltimore Sun. The article details the owner’s plans to revitalize the thoroughbred racing industry in Maryland.
One of Blackburn’s projects, The Rosemount Center, was in the news when actress Jennifer Garner visited the daycare and preschool facility to read and visit with students. The center was also recently honored by the Historic Mount Pleasant for the restoration.
In recognition of Earth Day, my firm announced a new division in design called Blackburn greenbarns. Starting with four ready-to-build horse-barn designs, we hope these barns are an affordable alternative to custom design. Of course, as the name implies, all the designs are green–in three ways: through passive design solutions, green materials and finishes, and additional design services to implement green systems such as solar panels.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about greenbarns and our new Web site at www.blackburngreenbarns.com. Please visit it and let us know what you think!
I’d really like to hear from you. The recent economic outlook is dismal. It seems I read a new piece of bad news each and every day. Like Monday’s article from the New York Times reporting 62,000 more announced layoffs across the nation and around the world. It seems that it’s going to get worse before it gets better, unfortunately. As reported by CBS News, President Obama “pledged a recovery plan ‘that is equal to the task ahead.'”
I just listened to a seminar by an economist for the Association of General Contractors (AGC). The seminar depicts that though the beginning of a turn around is forecasted by late summer or fall of this year, state and municipal budget may economically lag behind because they have to operate from revenues generated– and the economy has to turn around before that can happen. That is, unless the stimulus package provides funding for state public projects. But any jolt to the economy soon will have positive results, in my opinion. Beggars can’t be choosers, right?
On a more optimistic note, we continue to receive calls from some clients who are interested in getting their projects designed and “shovel ready,” so they can take advantage of the low building costs before the “turn around,” and before increased building costs are expected to occur. The economist for the AGC predicts lower costs in some construction categories of -4 to 0% range for 2009 and price spikes of 6 to 8% in 2010.
To many, this may seem impossible to even consider. To others, I hope this may be a piece of good news in an otherwise dreary situation.
Please write to me and let me know how you’ve been affected by these conditions. What have you had to scale back on? Do you feel optimistic?
A few weeks ago, Cesar, one of our project managers, and I went to Meggett, South Carolina for a site visit. We planned our visit to review the ten recently completed stalls added to an existing ten-stall barn on the property. Soon, the barn will also have a larger tack room and lounge. In the next phase of work, our design plans include adding a full-ridge skylight across the length of the barn to maximize natural light as well as improve ventilation.
Upon our visit, two things struck us: the humidity and the regal old oak trees with Spanish moss scattered across the property that provide ample and much-needed shade (and, of course, natural beauty and Southern charm). Otherwise, the 63-acre property set in South Carolina’s Low Country is relatively flat with large and open grassy paddocks.
This project required expedited design and construction, since the client had to move her horses across the country before the end of the month and the stalls had to be ready before their arrival. This timeline left our team less than a month to undertake concept design to completion of construction. And, thanks to the efforts of Jack Hart and Jimmy Thompson of Advanced Construction, Corbin, KY, who put in overtime and weekend hours, in conjunction with extremely fast turnaround by stall systems production at Lucas Equine, the stalls were installed quickly and efficiently. Given the heat and humidity, this was no small feat.
The property also has an existing 1-story residence, garage with apartment, small outdoor arena, and several existing paddocks. Future design plans include the addition of a riding field, 4-stall foaling barn, pool with pool house, round pen, covered arena, and hay/bedding storage.
Here’s a video of the new stalls, now home to some very grateful horses.