Farms are close to nature – places to harvest the fruit of the land and care for animals and livestock. As such they should be built and operated with respect for life through sustainable construction and operation. The Mason Lane Farm Operations Facility in North Carolina is just such an example. Designed by De Leon & Primmer Architecture Workshop out of Louisville, KY, the beautiful eco farm facility supports 2,000 acres of agriculture, recreation, wildlife habitat and conservation land as part of the University of North Carolina. Two barns were designed and constructed on a well planned site using sustainable materials like locally-sourced bamboo and prefab panels and trusses.
Two barns, “A” and “B” operate side by side but serve different purposes. Barn A acts as a work facility and is insulated to keep workers protected and warm, while Barn B is an open air shed, covered to protect equipment and store hay. The site of the barns was designed to maximize space while providing air circulation and accessibility for large farm equipment. Porous pavement is used exclusively to allow water to infiltrate, while rain water from the roofs is collected in a system of shallow concrete ‘site gutters’ located below each roof eave. The storm water runoff from the buildings and the driveway area is directed towards collection basins. The landscape Surrounding the buildings is planted with native and regionally-adapted plants that don’t require irrigation.
Barn A is clad in corrugated metal and serves as the operations office and workspace for the farm. It was constructed from prefabricated wood trusses and pre-finished metal panels. The concrete slap contains fly ash, and in one section, the building is insulated and utilizes radiant floor coils heated by an external boiler that runs off wood waste collected on site. The interior is modern, simple, and architecturally pleasing, incorporating finish screws, metal ties and varying materials as design elements.
Barn B, meanwhile is an open-air shed made from a lattice frame of locally harvested bamboo. Architecturally, the barn is symmetrically appealing and incredibly practical. The beautiful eco-barn is long and narrow with roll down doors on either side facilitating easy drive-through of large farm equipment, which aids in the circulation of the facility. On either end, hay is stored, and the openness of the barn allows the hay to breathe and dry.
Natural ventilation and daylighting are important elements in both buildings, which helps reduce energy use. Environmentally friendly and recycled materials are used extensively throughout the facilities, and all materials were sourced locally and within a 500 mile radius. The design for the new farm was guided by a regional focus as well as low cost and low maintenance. The Farm is currently seeking LEED Gold certification.