Pole Building: Honest Architecture

I recently read an article in Southwest Michigan’s Second Wave about “Historic barn enthusiasts preserve living agricultural heritage” written by Zinta Aistars.

pole barn framingIn the story Steve Steir, president of the Michigan Barn Preservation Network is quoted, “Barns are a symbol of peace and quiet, you can see the bones of the building when you walk inside. A barn is the most honest piece of architecture.”

This quote really got me to thinking about why it is I love pole buildings so much. My three decade involvement with them has been far more than just a way to make a living.  It has been the enjoyment of the simple grace and beauty of a structure which utilizes materials in their most practical form.

Going to architecture school, I recognized so much of the true beauty of a building, comes from the underlying structure – which in most cases gets covered up and buried by one of a myriad of interior and exterior finishes.

In the 1990’s I had built for myself a pole building for manufacturing purposes. The building was truly a structural work of art with 92 foot roof trusses, 150 feet in length and a 20 foot eave height. I remember standing in the middle of the floor after it was completed, just taking in the entire experience.

One of my favorite all time photos, is of a pole barn we were constructing for a wheat farmer near Creston, Washington. Completely framed, ready for the steel roofing and siding to be applied, the photographer caught it in black and white, with the full moon rising behind it. To me, absolutely stunning. We utilized it on the back cover of our sales brochure and received numerous comments about it.

Simple, practical, strong…..these words fit so well with my vision of the perfect structure – a pole building.

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