The reBarn project aims to enhance a public park along the White River in Muncie, Indiana. With the support of Muncie’s mayor and partnering with the local parks commission, students selected and researched the Westside Park site while developing design proposals. By providing a new semi-programmed platform for activity and reflection, users are connected to the landscape in a tactile and visual manner. Rejecting the over-simplified archetype of “bench” or “platform”, reBarn purposely anticipates many different programatic and ergonomic moments by engaging park users with a formal ambiguity. Without a predetermined and easily read use, users are invited to invent uses for sitting, reclining, climbing, etc. A sense of human scale and proportions is embedded in the layout of the panels, and its form is pulled specifically from the site as it creates a third levee above the river to encourage visitors to engage the structure.
reBarn is composed of reclaimed barnwood (275 unique pieces for a total of 300,000 board feet) donated to i.M.A.D.E by a local family. Each piece of barn wood was de-nailed and power washed, numbered and inventoried by species, length, width, depth, and other physical characteristics. This catalog of available stock was used to efficiently nest reBarn components which were unrolled from a digital Rhino model. Each wood component was custom milled using a 3-axis CNC router.
Connections between individual wood components and panels were informed by a partnership with Zahner Metals in Kansas City. Our students and a team from Zahner discussed this project very early in the process in order to effectively design and engineer reBarn according to the many fabrication and structural constraints. This collaboration included online meetings, phone calls, and a visit to Zahner’s headquarters in Kansas City. Zahner generously supplied materials and fabricated all of the aluminum components for reBarn including five water jet cut aluminum surface panels and over 350 variable aluminum joints.
After fabrication, reBarn was installed over seven days, including all site work and preparation. On-site, the digital model (loaded on laptops) was the only reference for placement of structural supports, resulting in precision assembly. In fact, digital design and fabrication technologies along with industry partnerships were instrumental in realizing the project.
i.M.A.D.E wishes to thank:
Mayor Sharon McShirley of Muncie and the Muncie Parks Department, particularly Doug Zook for their support of the project.
Bill Zahner, Tony Birchler, Roger Reed, Sam Miller, and the rest of the team at A. Zahner Metals for their collaborative help throughout the design process and their generous production and material support.
Ken and Karen Newton in Cambridge City, Indiana for their generous donation of the barn wood used for the project.
Stacey and Linda Burt in Eaton, Indiana for lending tools and equipment and donating site and landscape materials.
The College of Architecture and Planning’s wood shop staff–particularly the shop manager, Kyle Sechrest.
Design to Production Team:
Student Help Team:
The graduate students most responsible for the successful completion of reBarn are currently working on a collaborative MArch thesis under the moniker “Projectione“. Visit their website to see more of their work, as well as time lapse videos of the fabrication and installation of reBarn.