How is Architecture Implemented On Farms?

In urban settings we often appreciate the art and technique used to design and build properties, yet the architecture and the design features on rural farms rarely get the same level of attention.Some of the most functional and innovative architecture can be found on farms. Barns and farmhouses are built with purpose, they must fit into the rural landscape while providing suitable accommodations for farmers, animals, harvest or equipment and machinery.

Not all farms look the same, architectural projects consider the specific needs of the farmer, their product and the space they have to work with. Here we look at some of the different design options farms have implemented in their barns and farmhouses:

The design of barns

Barns have a very practical purpose, they are used to process and store the harvested crops and animal’s hay, as well as providing shelter for livestock and farm equipment. Traditional barns are built from heavy materials such as timber, concrete and brick, which are naturally good insulators.

Some are also built from metal; however, these are less than ideal for animals due the noise and poorer insulation they provide. Traditional barns can take substantial time to construct but are built with the purpose of standing in place for many, many years.

Typical design features in barns

While barns can come in all shapes and sizes, there are barn design features that are commonly found across most farms.

Something you will find in all traditional barns is large, full height openings. These are needed for getting large machinery in and out of the property, doors are huge and open fully for ease of access.

These buildings also reflect the local environment and resources in the area. For example, in areas where there is woodland close by, barns tend to be constructed or finished with timber. Or, in areas where stone and brick is more easily accessible, these materials are favoured.

Most barns have plenty of open space rather than individual rooms and are built of generous footprints. This means they can be easily adapted as the needs of the farm change throughout the seasons.

These design features have also made barns popular properties to purchase for conversion into residential housing. Traditional barns can be transformed into liveable and aesthetically beautiful upmarket homes.

Alternative barn architecture

Traditional barn structures have their downsides. They can be expensive builds that take a long time to construct, maintenance requirements can be high and specialist knowledge and skills are needed to build them.

Prefabricated steel structures can be a cost effective and accessible farm storage solution, buildings such as the Quonset Hut barn are customizable and can be constructed in as little as one week. These designs can be fully enclosed, semi enclosed, or open ended to suit the needs of the farm.

There are also different options for ventilation and insulation to temperature control and airflow, which is particularly important for the housing of livestock. These barns have an arched space to maximise space.

The beauty in farmhouses

Barns aren’t the only type of architecture you will find on a farm; the living accommodations of the farmer and their family is also an important feature. Farm houses often have a warm, approachable feel and are practical for busy family life.

On the exterior of the building, there is usually a pitched roof with dormers. There is a large porch area, often with seating and decorative plants. Floor plans tend to be simple and rectangular and one or two stories high.

Farmhouses are constructed from natural building materials such as stone or wood. There may be planning regulations in place in the area to ensure buildings are in keeping with the area and do not disrupt landscape beauty. Inside, kitchens and front rooms are large central spaces for most family activities. Bedrooms are often modest in size.

On the whole, farm architecture, for both living accommodations and farm storage, is innovative and built with functionality in mind.