River St. Joe Brewery

River St. Joe Brewery

moss Design
Buchanan, Michigan, USA | View Map
Project Year
Kendall McCaugherty © Hall+Merrick Photographers
Product Spec Sheet

ElementBrandProduct Name
Standing Seam Metal RoofMetal Sales Manufacturing Corporation
Vertical Seam
Doors and Window SystemsTubelite Inc.
14000 Series Storefront Framing
Plumbing FixturesAmerican Standard
Corten Roofing 22ga 7/8” corrugated A606-4 AKA Corten Weathering SteelCorten Steel
Light FixturesHalo Lighting
Light FixturesKichler

Product Spec Sheet
Standing Seam Metal Roof
Doors and Window Systems
14000 Series Storefront Framing by Tubelite Inc.
Plumbing Fixtures
Corten Roofing 22ga 7/8” corrugated A606-4 AKA Corten Weathering Steel
Light Fixtures
Light Fixtures
by Kichler

River St. Joe Brewery

moss Design as Architects

Modern Pole Barn Brewery in Southwest Michigan
Our clients sought to create an organic farm-to-table microbrewery where customers could enjoy a unique agricultural experience. So they came to us to design a sustainable brewery with a restaurant and tasting room. They wanted a modern building that would support organic farm activity while engaging with the rural site. The brewery is conceptualized as a modern pole barn with a deep overhang to provide shade for the outdoor patio. A combination of corten vertical siding and charred wood cladding wraps the exterior volume. Local stones form the gabion walls and flow through the exterior spaces. And native trees, shrubs, and pollinator-loving plants dot the landscape.

On the interior, corten steel continues through to the bar sides. In contrast, the bar tops and millwork for the tables, made from salvaged wood found on the farm. River St. Joe Brewery at Flatwater Farms differentiates from most breweries. Rather than outsourcing, they grow their own organic hops, used for beer production and various crops for the restaurant. We centered the voluminous taproom on the site providing stunning farm views and creating a link to the patio and hop farm. Beer lovers can immerse themselves in the beautiful ecosystem and be a part of the harmonious nature that fosters the organic beer process.


Designing a Modern Pole Barn
Pole barns are the tract homes of the industrial rural landscape. These pre-manufactured kits are ordered and shipped to a designated site. Upon arrival, they are plopped down on a foundation without site orientation taken into consideration. Their greatest appeal is that they are relatively inexpensive, hence their popularity. As we have found with tract homes, the problem is that they end up costing more to operate over time because they do not respond to the site for which they were dropped upon.

We knew a fully customized building was not in the budget and that the architectural concept had to be suitable for the land. With a little creativity and ingenuity, we made slight modifications to the pole barn model to better respond to the use and the site. Employing a few simple design moves, we created a structure, while still modular, that settles into the landscape and is oriented with the sun in mind. The roof slopes completely toward the south so that the full roof plane can be utilized for a solar array. The slope also provides shade for the building’s precise parts that benefit from having the most glass.


Material Used :
1. Facade cladding: Corten Steel, Corten Roofing 22ga 7/8” corrugated A606-4 AKA Corten Weathering Steel
2. Facade cladding: Yakisugi "Shou Sugi Ban" 1x6 Suyaki Select Shiplap, Species Cryptomeria japonica "sugi" Cypress, Suyaki Original Charred Surface
3. Flooring: Polished Concrete
4. Doors: Tubelite, Aluminum Storefront, T14000
5. Windows: Tubelite, Aluminum Storefront, T14000
6. Roofing: Standing Seam Metal Roof, Metal Sales Manufacturing Corp, 12” Vertical Seam
7. Interior lighting: Halo, Lithonia, Kichler
8. Interior furniture: Custom tables and bar tops fabricated from salvaged wood found on farm
9. Plumbing fixtures: American Standard
10. Structural Insulated Panels: Thermacore Structurally Insulated Panel Systems, Wall Panels 4” OSB R-24, Roof 6-1/2” OSB R-40
11. Solar Panels: LG, 73-335 w 60 cell photovoltaic panels

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Project Credits
Mechanical Engineer
Structural Engineer
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