Big Barn

Big Barn

Faulkner Architects
Glen Ellen, CA, USA | View Map
Project Year
Private Houses
Joe Fletcher

Big Barn

Faulkner Architects as Architects

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 1950's 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. 



Architecture : Faulkner Architects 

Contractor: Redhorse Constructors  

Civil Engineer: Adobe Associates 

Structural Engineer: CFBR Structural Group 

Mechanical Engineer: Sugarpine Engineering 

Electrical Engineer: Sugarpine Engineering 

Geotechnical Engineer: NV5 

Landscape: Michael Boucher Landscape Architecture 

Lighting: Ken Fulk 

Interior designer: Ken Fulk  

Theatrical/AV: SoundVision 

Pool Engineer: Terracon 

Pool Consultant: Blue Revolution 

Construction Project Manager: Walker Construction Management 

Special Inspections: PJC & Associates 

CALGreen: Gilleran Energy Management 

Irrigation Design: Dickson & Associates 

Arborist: Bartlett Trees 



Joe Fletcher Photography 

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ManufacturersGaggenau BSH
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