Seeking to live closer to work and other activities, my parents moved from a rural property outside of Wichita to one in its western suburbs. The property they moved to is an older, three acre plot that predates the smaller, more recent suburban development around it.
A windmill and small barn (below image) still stood on the property (above image), pointing to the area’s recent past as farmland. While still functional, both were in need of some repair. In the case of the barn, the roof had begun to collapse and leak in multiple places.
While this could easily be fixed, the low ceilings and small divided spaces of the barn were not conducive to the use and storage of the equipment and tools that my parents own. As such, they asked me to design a new structure to replace the original barn.
Wanting space to fit a truck, small tractor, riding mower, and various other implements, I sought to design an open space with ample ceiling height and wide doorways to allow the easy movement of equipment.
Immediate precedents were the wide variety barns and sheds I had seen growing up in rural Kansas. In addition, there were the low-lying forms, large roof spans, and unique doors of hangars seen at aviation factories in Wichita.
Working with these ideas in mind, I produced this design:
The building has an overall footprint of 30’x40′, a 30’x10′ section of which is a covered exterior space. 4×4 and 4×6 posts are placed on a 6’x10′ grid and rise from 8′ to 14′ in height to create a single 2:12 roof pitch. 2×8 headers and footers connect the posts, with 2x4s 2′ O.O. in between as girt boards. Corrugated steel sheets clad the exterior up to 8′. To bring in an abundance of natural light, transparent corrugated polycarbonate clads the remaining portion.
Five 24″ engineered wood trusses more commonly used in floor construction span the 40′ length of the building; this creates an uninterrupted 24’x30′ interior space and an exterior 10’x30′ cantilevered canopy open on two sides. Vertical 2x6s 2′ O.C. span the distance between the trusses as purlins. Perpendicular to this are attached 2′ O.C. 1″x4″ furring strips onto which the corrugated steel roofing is screwed.
Two 8’x10′ doors slide apart on a steel channel to produce a 20′ opening along one facade. Half of this track runs in front of the exterior bay and is suspended from the cantilevering wood truss above. The doors themselves are made from wood cladding reclaimed from the previous barn, as are portions of the wall and roof framing. A more conventional prehung steel entry door off the canopy side also allows entry into the barn.
Having done all the work up to this point, we figured we could just build it ourselves as well.
All build work was done by myself and with the much needed help of family and friends. Work of such nature started on October 5, 2013, with demolition/salvage work on the existing structure. Construction on the new structure started October 23 with the leveling of the building’s footprint and the drilling of footings. Most of the construction was finished on November 30th.
Foregoing any work in the winter, my parents started work again in the spring of 2104, and put the finishing touches on it that summer. Below are some detail shots of the whole process: