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reBarn began as a dialogue between the history of material and the contemporary tools used in its making. There is a balance between digital and analog processes, natural and man-made materials, and traditional and innovative details. The structural tectonic was derived from the cross-bracing that occurs behind the skin of a barn. That technique, along with a locking dovetail system created a framework to begin formal design. The overall form was developed with the site, retaining a similar dialogue between nature and the human. Our manufactured landscape is placed within a man-made levee created by the Army Corp of Engineers, establishing a new layer to this system. The structure has a directional, downriver flow to it. All of the sit/lay/stand-able geometries face specific sections of the river. As your body adjusts to a comfortable position you have the opportunity to recognize the small rapids in the White River, the sycamores directly upstream, and the public passing by along the adjacent White River Trail.

reBarn was installed over a seven-day period. Placement of footers and pads was accomplished using a traditional two point / arc intersection method that utilized a list of coordinates to determine site placement. This allowed us to know exactly where our structural members met the ground; all information was generated through our digital model. We connected the barn wood and aluminum panels using the custom aluminum components cut by A. Zahner Metals. Panels had to be temporarily supported as the structure was bolted together moving across the project. Installation and assembly of the panels on site took much less time than the sub-structure and bracing that was developed. We anticipated this necessity beneath the panels which was created using a cross bracing system that is based on conventional stick frame construction. This additional structuring was required for the longevity and safety of the project. It proved successful as a group of ten children “stress-tested” our project ten minutes upon completion.

The creaking that occurs as you walk over the structure brings out some of the material’s history. Its textures and character express its regionalism as the wood was gathered directly from the Newton farm in Cambridge City, IN. Some panels retain the initials of the barn’s previous owners; other boards show places of wear from animals and missing knotholes. The contrast between materials with history and the precise patterned aluminum panels strengthens their individual effects creating a richer whole. This also provides for a direct connection between the analog and digital worlds.

reBarn has been a year in the making. If you are in the Muncie area, we are having an opening this Thursday, November 19 at 5 pm to celebrate its completion.

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