Barn Interiors

Barn Interiors, IBF Magazine

A Look Inside A Barn

Text by GEORGE L. NIELSEN, Cincinnati architect who is an Ames native

Blake barn
Blake Barn - more photos here.

In many ways, barns are unique pieces of Architecture. They are most often created not by design professionals, but are instead the child of the farmer’s imagination. He simply needs a place to house his livestock, crops and machinery and to care for them in a straight-forward efficient way. Nothing fancy, just a dry and weather-resistant enclosure.

So, the farmer just builds his barn himself.

You could say that these barns are, as said in the “Fine Art” world, they are “Primitive Art”. They are creations of the farmers themselves and their barn builders. Barns exhibit not just an outside image, but from the inside they tell a story. They show off the creativity and ingenuity of the farmer-builder.

Inside you can see the fascinating ways the structure has been supported and the interesting functional layouts of the spaces and the sometimes curious construction details used. You see the limited materials they had to work with which give evidence of the primitive work tools they were limited to.

Inside, you sense the work organization of the farmer and it becomes apparent and alive. The practicality of the spaces and the materials and details of the barn’s construction reveal themselves.

And they are fascinating. They show all kinds of things: the way they made, the tools used, even the number of workers that must have been needed to make them. They tell a story.

The famous Chicago Mid-century Architect, Mies Van Der Rohe, said of his notable buildings that “God is in the Details”. If that is so, then I think it can be said that the farmer can claim of his barn, His Soul is in the Details.

Go inside and look into the Soul of the Farmer.

Zelle Barn - more photos here.
Zelle barn


Bartelt Barn - more photos here.
Bartelt barn


Kolsrud Barn - more photos here.
Kolsrud barn


Clasen Barn - more photos here.
Clasen barn


Murphy Barn - more photos here.
Murphy barn


Dobbin Barn - more photos here.
Dobbin barn


Handsaker Barn - more photos here.
Handsaker barn


Gough Barn - scroll down for more Gough Barn photos
Note that the wooden posts supporting the roof are all one piece of timber, and that probably kept the barn from just falling down during the storm. Temporary farm workers slept in the loft (left).
Gough barn

This barn has a unique center haymow which goes from ground level to the peak of the roof. It held some 10,000 bales of hay, by just stacking it up.
Gough barn

Gough barn

Gough barn

Gough barn

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