Friday, November 21, 2008


Like the stunning garden shed featured here a few weeks ago, this humble farm building shown here shows that good architecture isn't just confined to cathedrals.  And like Bruce Goff's Gutman House I featured yesterday, we can see that the excitement of Haring's 1924 Gut-Garkau Farm is really all in the plan - just like it should be in all really good architecture,

Why's that? Because unlike the modernist architecture of, say, Mies van der Rohe, whose buildings could pretty much house anything, the plans of Hugo Haring always express the function for which they're intended -- in this case to house and service a bull and his cows in a cold climate. Hugo Haring, you see, wasn't a modernist.  He designed organic architecture.  As Frank Lloyd Wright describes it,

In an organic architecture the ground itself detemines all features: the climate modifies them: available means limit them: function shapes them.
What this means for the plan you can see above is that the form of each element can be traced to a functional need.  For instance: 
"The pointed-arch section of the barn reflects the choice of a lamella roof. It follows the line of structural thrust with interlocking small timbers and leaves the internal volume unencumbered by ties." [Peter Blundell-Jones]
That's a good thing for a barn: the result of that form reflecting those particular functions is that the forms becomes expressive of the function: or as Wright would say, form and function become one.

This is the integration we look for in good architecture.  Blundell-Jones explains how the function of the barn generated the building:

"A simple rectangle in plan, the barn was planned so that unloading carts could pass through between the asymmetrically placed doors. The cowshed lies beneath the hayloft so that the cattle can be fed directly via a trapdoor.The intermediate floor slopes inward, both to facilitate spreading the hay and to guide rising breath of cattle to vents at the sides, reducing spread of infection. The framed structure allows a continuous window band at clerestorey level to maximise skylight, ventilation being achieved separately by flaps above. The pear-shaped plan gathers the cows around a food-floor which tapers with the quantity of food distributed, and the circulation space around the edge allows smooth flow. The guiding idea, though, was clearly to reflect the relationship between the 42 cows and the single bull, father of the herd and its genetic identity."

Andso  simply and elegantly done