Who says materials have to be scraped, buffed, and varnished to be beautiful? Recently, we spotted a beautiful storage barn that proves raw materials can make a breathtaking exterior. The building’s site was once home to a scrap lumber yard where the owner was looking to restrain the sprawl of the wood and stone. The architects, Gray Organschi Architecture, designed a simple structure that not only stores the materials, but operates off-grid on an isolated site. With accessibility in mind, the lumber is organized on the exterior of the building in rectangular cubby holes, creating a wonderful mosaic-like texture that proves that functionality and aesthetics can go hand-in-hand.
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The materials and systems of the barn were thoughtfully integrated to minimize the building’s environmental impact. The structure operates off-grid with an array of solar panels on the roof that powers the lighting and ground source pumps that heat the building geo-thermally. Currently, the solar panels are generating more electricity than the building is using so the owner is able to sell the electricity to the local utility company. Also, to facilitate day-lighting, the architects used translucent polycarbonate panels for the walls and translucent solar panels on the roof.
The structure’s raw simplicity is easy to appreciate, and combines contemporary materials like translucent polycarbonate panels against the raw wood and stone to make for a surprisingly elegant combination of refined and rough. Gray Organschi Architecture was recognized as an Emerging Voice by The Architectural League of New York for 2009.