Lancaster Barn Challenge

A mid-19th century Pennsylvania German barn in southern Lancaster County was the palette. Turning it into a striking modern residence meeting client specifications was the challenge.

But it didn’t happen easily. Structural plans for the adaptive reuse took two years and required complex coordination with the architects and contractors plus attention to historic detail.

“These projects really excite me,” said structural engineer Ed Greenebaum, president of Greenebaum Structures, P.C. “You think about the age of this barn and that it was used to store farm equipment and to dry tobacco. It looks pretty simple, but the level of detail required to make it work is unusual. It’s pretty stunning that this type of transformation can happen.”

One challenge was shifting interior barn posts and reframing the structure to accommodate open spaces specified by the clients. Another feat was maintaining the historic integrity of the structure by recycling original materials or locating complementary period materials, such as the exterior stones and heavy framing timber. Not only that, but the structural design had to meet 21st century building codes.

After two years of construction, the result is 3,500 square feet of comfortable and livable space in a design that uniquely merges the modern with the historic. Construction was completed by Gallagher & Sons of Lancaster; architectural services were by John Mayfield of Austin, TX; structural engineering was by Greenebaum Structures, P.C.