We’re currently working on a few projects where we’re being called upon to design barns. While researching the architectural styles of barns, I became mildly amused by my current scholarly investigation. In rural North Alabama, where I grew up, no architect ever laid a genteel creative hand upon a barn; they were humble agricultural necessities. Standing quietly like a cow grazing in the field, these structures were the ultimate in form follows function. They simply were because they needed to be. I remember playing in the barn on hot summer days where arranging dense rectangular hay bales into fanciful forts became unintentional pre-architectural training. Rusty implements were abundant and lay ready to threaten the ever-bare foot with Lock-Jaw (whatever that was – an ignored parental warning). Old tires, abandoned doors and scurrying mice were the accessories of my early designs. In the still, hot air of these dusty lairs, imagination was king and the majestic realm was vast.
I now sit in my glamorous, conditioned and well-appointed office trying to artistically replicate that Arcadian magic of my youth. It’s suddenly clear why I’m being commissioned to design these “gentlemen barns” (as they’re now called). I’m basically designing these fashionable sheds for guys who were just like me. We’re all grown-up now but always yearn to return to the long, simple days where a cavernous rural ramshackle held our unburdened thoughts captive.
While I’m sketching, I may slip off my shoes. Come on Lock-Jaw. You don’t scare me.
Many of these structures are also being used for very un-agricultural purposes like weekend getaways and event festivities.
All Content on this Site is the Property of McAlpine Tankersley Architecture. Copyright © 2012 McAlpine Tankersley Architecture, All Rights Reserved Worldwide
“To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment.” —Jane Austen
To begin with, let me say that we love designing cabanas.
In the midst of the everyday task of juggling complex programs, all the while trying to make things look simple and elegant, the lone pool cabana asks for little. Sure, they must house the occasional fireplace or bathroom or two but, in the grand scheme of things, its sole purpose is be a shady temple dedicated to sloth.
That’s why they are the dessert of the design meal. Once we’ve digested the proteins and roughage of the house (also known as kitchens, baths and master closets), the cabana waits for us at the end of the struggle, full of empty calories and ready to tickle the imaginative palate.
As a prominent out-building, it serves as a condensed version of the architecture of the manor house; a stylistic demi-glace of all that resides at the grown-ups’ table. It has all the fun with none of the attitude. It’s sort of like having your vacation home in the backyard. You can track wet feet in there without getting yelled at.
Cabanas are the modern day version of the simple hut. Unlike the house, they don’t hermetically seal us up, double glazed in artificial environments. They offer shade and shelter. Plain and simple. Breezes blow through, the mind shuts off and drinks are served.
At the end of the day (or week), they are welcome refuges for the world weary, ready to shield you in their quirky, charming embrace.
Follies, beautifully lounging in the landscape, requiring nothing but giving so very much.