Wild Wild West

Since graduating and entering the ACE industry full time, a lot of the "fun" has disappeared from architecture. That's not to say that I don't enjoy the projects I work on. Trust me, I get to work on some fun projects with awesome clients. However, the really fun projects often don't appear unless you find a client with, uhhh, really fun money, if that makes sense. Even my wealthiest clients often have sticker shock.

To quell my disappointment with capitalism, I decided to swing back to my roots and get into designing horse barns again. This time though, I'm more invested in taking an environmentally friendly approach to it. And especially after dealing with some horrible design decisions at my last barn, passive cooling has been a huge focus for me. Like . . . . . you can't fix bad design with chicken fans, lmao. You also save a significant amount of money (upfront and/or long-term) when you design to the environment you're in.

So this is the beginning of some case studies.

This proposal is for a high-end facility in the dry part of the American south (i.e. Texas, Arizona, Oklahoma, etc.) Contrary to the interpretation of several commenters on Facebook, this barn is not designed for Florida. I started my post by stating that I live in Florida and hate the heat, and multiple people took that as me designing this barn for Florida. Seriously, I put cacti in the renderings for a reason.

Anyways, this is an evaporative cooling setup utilizing a trough as a water source. In hindsight, you would actually need a much larger water source to create substantial cooling, but the steep angle to the roof and open-sided truss give plenty of space for hot air to escape. Material-wise, this is pretty much the standard that you would see in Florida; concrete structure with a wood truss roof. While metal seems to be a standard in my chosen location, I'm not a huge fan of it for aesthetic and safety reasons. To avoid trapping heat, I opted for half-height stall walls and partitions. Grates or panels can easily be added on top of concrete to avoid skirmishes.

As for the purpose of the pool itself, I figure that can vary depending on the owner. Rainwater collection, irrigation, water for the horses, a koi pond . . . it can really be anything. I would highly recommend underground filtration or some kind of treatment if it's being used for anything beyond irrigation.

My preference has always been to split the tack and feed room and to make them as large as possible, regardless of the number of stalls in the barn itself. I've seen too many overcrowded, stuffy, disorganized tack and feed rooms. If you have the money and space, go bigger.

Alright, that's enough rambling. Enjoy the pics!

How many of these do I have to post until I get a feature on Stable Style?


  1. Holy shit that's a sweet barn design. I'm pretty obsessed with passive heating (living in a cooler climate and wanting more winter gardening), and I love the idea of incorporating more of this into barn design.

    Is the goal of the outside water to absorb heat from the walls of the stalls and buffer them in the hot parts of the days? Or is it mostly the evaporative cooling you're looking for? Would you then not also want fans moving the air to increase evaporation?

  2. Beautiful!! So my really good friend is an architect and just won a fellowship which has her traveling around Europe and she's supposed to build something (sorry I'm absolutely shit on the details). I imagine something like that might pop a bit more excitement into architecture for you.


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