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Grace Boudewyns

Better Know an LF Project: Air Barns

Posted by on 4/5/13 at 12:53pm

The “Air Barn” was designed to provide a habitat for the client’s string of polo ponies; in addition to shelter, each barn provides food and water for up to 12 ponies. The composition of two traditional open “pole-barn” structures, with deep roof overhangs, creates the housing portion of these barns. Solid shed “saddlebag” forms flank each end, which contain tack and feed rooms. Originally there was a single barn, but as construction started the second barn was added, which is how it became the plural “Air Barns”. . .

“Why build one when you can build two for twice the price”- quote from SR Hadden (played by John Hurt in the movie Contact)



Answers by: Brian Korte

Completed: 1999

Project Team:  John Grable, Brian Korte, “Joe Ben Genius”

LF Scope: Full Services:  The project started as a simple napkin sketch then evolved into a hands-on collaboration with the Contractor (Jeff Truax) and his welders during construction.  The Construction Documents were drawn by hand, on vellum, on an old drafting table that used to reside at my house.  That table now lives on as a relic of this lost art at my workspace today.

The Story: In the past, we had done previous work for the client and the barns were added alongside a few accessory support structures.

The Crux:  The barns are completely open-air, and naturally ventilate on all sides and through the continuous ridge vent, hence the name “Air Barns”.




Favorite Detail:  The 8’-0” deep thin overhangs, or the rolling saddle rack: we had to make sure the edges of the steel plate were ground smooth enough to preserve the leather saddles. To quote the client, “if it cut’s your hand it will cut the leather.” All the steel connections were welded on site and the fabricators could essentially make anything we wanted, so that made the project quite fun during construction.

Interesting Material:  Recycled oil field drill stem pipe.  The project consists of only four materials in total: weathered drill stem pipe, galvanized corrugated metal, 2×12 pine and concrete.

If I could change one thing. . . The project was pretty spartan, there isn’t a whole lot to change.


Rolling saddle cart and overhangs.