Thursday, November 4, 2010
Midwest Retreat Barn,Iowa, USA | BNIM
6,000 gross square feet
3 car garage
The retreat is located on a bucolic 700-acre site in the rolling hills of rural Iowa. The property orginally contained a mix of prairie, woodland and former farmland. With assistance from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the owner has restored much of the fallow farmland and non-native woodlands back to its native prairie ecology. The building is approached from the south, by way of an existing gravel drive that traverses this prairie and woodland habitat. The retreat is sited in an existing clearing, and is surrounded by restored prairie that is allowed to grow up to the building's perimeter. With its siting in this clearing, as well as its form and materiality, the building echoes the agrarian typologies of the region. The building is elongated in an east/west direction in order to maximize daylight control and to highlight views of the pond to the east and the lone tree to the west.
The retreat was designed as a venue for both social and business gatherings. Because of this dual use, the programmatic relationships and requirements depart in subtle but important ways from that of a typical residence. The functional parti clearly separates the social spaces in the continuously-gabled wood volume above from the support spaces in the concrete box below. In addition to creating a clear separation of support and social spaces, locating primary gathering areas on the second floor provides access to views and increased opportunity for natural ventilation. At the functional heart of this second floor space is a large, flexible open area bordered by three fixed functional elements: a low kitchen, a large hearth and an antique bar previously acquired by the client. These key components provide definition to the space and support its range of social activities....more