Just north of Hanover, NH, stately home to Dartmouth College, the banks of the Connecticut river sweep up towards Lyme Road. A two acre patch is dotted with student-farmers, blanketed in neat green rows, and punctuated at the top of the slope by a 1,250 square foot barn built by TimberHomes in 2012. The story-and-a-half barn was designed in-house to serve the many needs of a working farm on a college campus.

Queen Posts on Campus

A number of design tactics help make this building versatile enough to serve farmers, farm managers, and the rest of the campus community. The barn is framed with four cross-sections (called ‘bents’), each with queen posts that extend from floor to roof and share the load of the rafters mid-span, which are landing on purlin plates. The queen post design makes the load paths fairly simple and shortens the rafter span, making it possible to have a wide building without the need for complicated trussing. The second bent, however, is trussed so that no central support is needed along it’s 26-foot width. This configuration leaves a 624 square feet of open space in which seeds are sorted, the harvest comes in, talks and dinners are held, and tables can be spread out for an instant classroom. Upwards of 100 people can, and do fit in this space for events. It cleans up quite nicely for a barn.

The rest of the lower level is walled off and insulated, and is used by the farm manager as an office and meeting space. Above the office, a loft offers storage and a place to study and lounge with views of the farm and the Connecticut River below.

TimberHomes Teams up with Dartmouth Students

On raising day, we weren’t the only people in hard hats and yellow vests—the Dartmouth community was psyched to jump in on the action. A group of dedicated students who are connected to the farm and were interested in timber framing spent raising day and the following weeks of construction working with us. They helped install the mortise and tenon stairs, build the sliding barn doors, and did the endless staining and trim work that made this barn as handsome as it is. This type of involvement inevitably leads to a sense of ownership in the building from day one, as the memories of bringing it to life are baked into its walls.