Project Name: Big Barn
Practice: Faulkner Architects
Firm Location: Truckee
Completion year: 2019
Gross Built up Area: 3,900 square feet
Project Location: Glen Ellen, California (USA)
Lead Architects: Greg Faulkner
Design Team: Greg Faulkner, Darrell Linscott, Christian Carpenter, Jenna Shropshire, Richard Szitar
Engineering: Civil Engineer: Adobe Associates
Structural Consultants: CFBR Structural Group
Landscape Consultants: Michael Boucher Landscape Architecture Arborist: Bartlett Trees
MEP Consultants: Electrical Engineer: Sugarpine Engineering
Contractors: Redhorse Constructors
Project Manager: Walker Construction Management
Interior + Furniture: Interior designer: Ken Fulk
Others: Special Inspections: PJC & Associates Pool Engineer: Terracon Pool Consultant: Blue Revolution
Photo Credits: Joe Fletcher Photography (exterior and dining room photos) Ken Fulk (all other interior images)More Specs
(Text submitted by the Architect)
North of San Francisco, in Glen Ellen, a less populated part of the Napa wine country, the culture has been based on agriculture and was named for an original winery. Jack London made this his permanent home here in the early 1900s. Drawn by the land, London believed in the redemptive qualities of rural life. Less than an hour from the city, rolling hills covered with groves of oak trees surround the downtown. The strong agricultural history has affected the built environment here with many examples of barn like houses that are confusingly morphed between the two vocabularies. On the existing footprint of a 1950s ranch house, this family getaway evolved in response to a request for a retreat from their urban lifestyle. The atmosphere of a tack barn renovated into a bunk house on site inspired thoughts of a larger barn like typology for this main house of 3,900 square feet.
The request from the client was to build in a consistent way within the rolling hills dappled with agricultural buildings. A simple, rectangular, two-story form emerged with an asymmetrical gabled roof. The shorter side of the roof faces the southwest sun and reduces heat gain to the structure. Fenestration is limited to this exposure as well and is organized like thin full height ventilation shutters that reference traditional barn building. The entry, a larger version of the vertical slit elements is recessed for shading. The fireplace and chimney, foreign to the barn typology, is displaced from the structure with glazed joints. The east side is more open to the view and morning sun. A continuous, building-sized assembly of steel sash glazing includes large sliding doors that pocket into the adjacent wall and open the kitchen to the rear terrace. The upper zone of the main space is void of windows and reminds one of the empty shell-like spaces of barns. A large vertical wood shutter located on the southeast gable end is aligned axially with an internal access through the plan on both levels. When open at both ends, prevailing breezes flow through the mass cooling it naturally. In order to leave the hillside intact and avoid grading, the form is excavated into the site uphill and cantilevered over it downhill. A steel grated bridge connects the upper sleeping level with the hillside and tack barn above. A minimal material pallet of reclaimed redwood corrugated Corten steel and black steel sash windows combined with integral gutters, and lack of overhangs further the minimal feeling of the construction. Inside the singular materiality is continued via California Oak for floors wall and ceilings.
Radiantly heated floors and minimal cooling provided only at sleeping areas, coupled with enhanced glazing, insulation and mechanical system efficiencies mitigate energy use.